Sen. Ted Cruz faces backlash for Cancún trip amidst Texas snowstorm


Dan Christian Rojas

In this image from video, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, walks to check in for his flight back to the U.S., at Cancun International Airport in Cancun, Mexico, Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Dan Christian Rojas)

Patrick Kane, Staff Reporter

Over the past week, a record-breaking snowstorm ravaged the state of Texas. The state has been unable to adapt, due to the infrastructure not being designed to withstand these temperatures. Additionally, a decent percentage of the state lacks power due to the state power grids being shut off. With these factors in mind, many Texans and non-Texans alike have attacked U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz for taking his family to Cancún in the midst of this weather disaster.

The story broke on Feb. 17, as pictures of Cruz and his family in an airport with luggage spread throughout the Internet. News then surfaced that Cruz and his family planned to spend time at the Ritz Carlton in Cancún, Mexico. Politicians, including Beto O’Rourke, Cruz’s most recent Senate challenger, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Republican Texas Rep. Michael McCaul, condemned the optics of Cruz’s trip, blasting him for putting himself and his family above his constituents during a statewide crisis. In less than 24 hours, Cruz returned to Texas, accompanied by a police escort.

Demonstrators stand in front of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s home demanding his resignation, Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021, in Houston. Sen. Cruz said his family vacation to Mexico was “obviously a mistake” as he returned stateside Thursday following an uproar over his disappearance during a deadly winter storm. (Marie D. De Jesús/Houston Chronicle via AP) (Marie D. De Jesús)

Upon his return, the backlash was swift and immediate. Protesters gathered at his home in Houston, demanding his resignation. His office released a statement claiming that Cruz only intended to stay a single night to accompany his daughters, who asked him to go on the trip. This statement was met with even more backlash, as many viewed it as Cruz shifting the blame onto his preteen daughters.

In addition, texts from his wife, Heidi Cruz, directly contradicted Cruz’s explanation. After his arrival in Texas, Cruz posted several pictures on his Twitter of him handing out water to constituents, but this was mocked by the population for being a cheap photo-op.

When asked for comment concerning the optics of Cruz’s trip, Pamela Mason, associate professor of political science at John Carroll University, responded, “[The trip] was a mistake. He did not immediately demonstrate care for his constituents. Senators don’t have policy-making power at the state level. …But a Senator that has future political ambitions really needs to demonstrate empathy and care, and Cruz did not do that. Additionally, it was unseemly of him to blame his daughters for his own ill-considered decision.”