Back in December, Texas senator Ted Cruz seemingly laid down a hard and fast rule for politicians and travel during the pandemic: Don’t do it. Criticizing Austin mayor Steve Adler and other Democrats for traveling and not following coronavirus guidelines as the pandemic surged, Cruz tweeted, “Hypocrites. Complete and utter hypocrites.” Apparently, though, the Texas senator’s full rule is actually “Don’t travel during a pandemic, unless there’s also a state of emergency and millions of your constituents are without heat and power, in which case get on the next flight to Mexico.” He hasn’t written it on his website or anything, but it’s clearly his policy, hence his decision to jet off to Cancún for some R&R on Wednesday in the midst of a full-blown crisis in Texas that’s shown no signs of abating.
Cruz, quite reasonably, has been on the receiving end of a whole bunch of condemnation for his little getaway. “In crises like these, members of Congress play a critical role connecting their constituents to emergency services and assistance. @tedcruz should be on the phone with federal agencies, not on a trip to Mexico,” said former San Antonio mayor (and 2020 presidential hopeful) Julián Castro. “Ted Cruz is many things, but he’s not oblivious enough (and even if he is, his *staff* certainly isn’t) to think that no one would notice him on a commercial flight to Cancun or in the airport on either end. And he went *anyway.* That, to me, is the truly revealing piece here,” wrote University of Texas at Austin law professor Steve Vladeck. “You gotta hand it to ted cruz. every time you think ‘man this guy could not be a bigger piece of shit’ he goes and one-ups himself,” tweeted LaLiga Zone host Aaron West.
According to Cruz’s Republican allies, though, such criticism is entirely misplaced! The senator isn’t an asshole for abandoning his constituents in the middle of catastrophe that has been blamed for at least 30 deaths, he’s a goddamn hero! \
What could @tedcruz do if he were here in Texas? I’m hard-pressed to say. If he’s in Cancun, that means he’s not using up valuable resources of energy, food and water that can now be used by someone else. This is probably the best thing he could do for the state right now
— Dinesh D'Souza (@DineshDSouza) February 18, 2021
Yes, you read that right. According to Dinesh D’Souza, Texans should be thanking Cruz for analyzing the situation in the Lone Star State and thinking, “The best thing I can do for my constituents is leave immediately.” And D’Souza isn’t the only one basically arguing that Cruz is of no use to the people who elected him:
The fact that people think Ted Cruz, a United States Senator, can do anything about a state power grid, even his own, is rather demonstrative of the ignorance of so many people who cover politics. They’d rather performative drama than substance.
— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) February 18, 2021
Yet while Cruz no doubt agrees with his defenders that there was absolutely nothing he could do to help millions of suffering Texans, including simply pretending to give a sh-t about their plight, he or someone in his office apparently read the room after images of him en route to Mexico made their way to the internet and decided to book him on the next flight back to Houston while, presumably, furiously coming up with an excuse for his jaunt. (Thankfully, because he’s clearly suffered so much, it appears Cruz may be upgraded to business class, avoiding the indignity of sitting with the little people in coach):
And just like that, Ted (Rafael) Cruz seems to be on his way back to Texas.
"CRU, R." is on the upgrade list on this afternoon's flight from Cancun to Houston. He was on the list on yesterday afternoon's flight down to Cancun, too. pic.twitter.com/4SJano1zb3
— Kyle Potter (@kpottermn) February 18, 2021
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) February 18, 2021
As many have noted, there is likely a nonzero chance that Cruz’s official statement will claim he was merely escorting his wife and family to Cancún and never intended to stay himself, which would be an absurd excuse on its own, but particularly in light of the fact that he was seen in footage shared on social media toting his own carry-on at the airport.
While Cruz’s office has thus far not responded to requests for comment re: the Senator’s trip, according to NBC News it did have the time to contact the Houston Police Department on Wednesday to “assist him in his arrival and movements through Houston’s international airport.” Which certainly seems like a great use of their time!
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