Late Wednesday night, Cancun started trending on Twitter. Thinking perhaps there was some natural disaster or weird weather event I looked. It appeared that U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and his family were caught on camera boarding a flight to Cancun.
That is all well and good, but the problem is that the state of Texas is under a state of emergency after a rare winter storm has left millions in the state without electricity, heat, or water.
I went to bed knowing that the pictures were of him because of the mask he was wearing that was identical to one he was wearing in other photos and it looked like him. I then saw a picture of his wife Heidi.
In my mind, however, this still wasn’t confirmed because I didn’t know when or where these photos were taken. As far as I know, they could have been taken some time ago, like over Christmas.
This morning it was confirmed, it was Cruz, he was in Cancun. His office issued a statement saying it was a preplanned trip and that he just flew down overnight to get his family settled. He always planned to return the next day, they said.
First, it’s horrible optics anyway, even for one night. Yes, he could have stayed in touch with state and local officials, technology is great that way, but it just looks bad. Elected officials don’t go on vacation when their state is in a crisis, they just don’t. You cancel your plans or at least let your family go on without you. I’m sure Heidi Cruz is quite capable of making sure the family is settled.
Second, now there is a report that a United Airlines employee confirmed that Cruz changed his flight this morning and that it was originally supposed to return on Saturday. So now it looks like he received blowback and public pressure and decided to return home early, but his office lied and said that was his plan all along. If this is indeed accurate are going beyond bad optics to lying to constituents.
Third, Cruz released a statement that makes me question the original statement from his office.
“This has been an infuriating week for Texas. The greatest state in the greatest country in the world has been without power. We have food lines, gas lines, and people sleeping at the neighbors’ houses. Our homes are freezing and our lights are out. Like millions of Texans, our family lost heat and power too,” he said.
“With school cancelled for the week, our girls asked to take a trip with friends. Wanting to be a good dad, I flew down with them last night and am flying back this afternoon. My staff and I are in constant communication with state and local leaders to get to the bottom of what happened in Texas. We want our power back, our water on, and our homes warm. My team and I will continue using all our resources to keep Texans informed and safe,” Cruz added.
Was this trip pre-planned or was it spontaneous? Also, his girls asked to take a trip with friends? So he’s basically blaming his daughters. Good parents sometimes have to say no to such requests.
The statement, and I can’t believe his office thought this was a good idea, makes him look colossally out of touch. My biggest problem is the untruthful information intended to spin what was a poor decision on his part.
Bad optics one can recover from, lying to the public makes that much, much harder to do.
This was a horrible decision, horrible response, and Cruz should have known better.