Ted Cruz Responds to Outrage over Cancun Trip: In Hindsight ‘It Was a Mistake’

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 13: Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) talks to reporters in the Senate subway during a break in the fifth day of the Senates second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump on February 13, 2021 in Washington, DC. The Senate voted 55-45 Saturday to accept testimony from …
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Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has been the target of attacks from several directions since photos surfaced Wednesday of him boarding a plane to Cancun, Mexico, while his state was experiencing mass power outages and water shortages amid severe winter weather.

Cruz admitted in an interview with a local outlet Thursday upon his return that the move “was a mistake” and said he had intended to take his family, including his two young daughters, 10 and 12, “somewhere warm” as his home was one of the four million that lost power, as well as one of the many to be left without heat and water.

Cruz, along with Texas senior Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), on Sunday called on President Joe Biden to respond to Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) request to declare an emergency disaster in the state and open the state to federal assistance, which Biden granted. Power in Texas, which operates from a state grid, was mostly restored as of Friday, but more than 14 million homes remained under boil-water notices, i.e., without safe drinking water, according to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

“Look, in hindsight, if I had understood how it would be perceived, the reaction people would have, obviously I wouldn’t have done it. It was a mistake,” Cruz told local outlet ABC 13, adding that he experienced second thoughts when he boarded the plane.

“As a leader, you need to be here, and you need to be here when Texans were hurting, and that’s why I didn’t feel good about it even as we were heading out,” he continued. “I knew why we said yes, but I was thinking it was a mistake almost from the outset, and then as I saw the firestorm that erupted that made it even more clear that I needed to be here.”

The “firestorm” included criticism pouring in on social media from many left-wing politicians and commenters as the news of Cruz’s trip circulated.

Perhaps his most vocal critic in Congress, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), who called for Cruz’s resignation after he led an effort to create a commission to investigate allegations of voter fraud that were prevalent following the 2020 election, commented that Cruz “could’ve taken his vacation in peace” had he acquiesced to her resignation demand:

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) remarked on there being an “extraordinary” “level of disdain” from Cruz for his constituents:

Jeffries also sent out a fundraising email focusing on the incident, insisting Cruz resign and falsely accusing the Texas Republican of “defending Donald Trump’s attacks on our democratic elections” and “abandoning his state while it goes through a deadly weather emergency”:

Contrary to Jeffries’ claims, Cruz in an interview in January called Trump’s election rhetoric “irresponsible and reckless.” Cruz also explained once he returned from Mexico that Texas’s utility operations occur at the state level and not the federal level, at which he works, and that he is able to remain “engaged” and conduct his senatorial duties remotely.

Others lashing out at Cruz included:

The White House declined to comment, according to the Wall Street Journal’s Ken Thomas. Press secretary Jen Psaki reportedly said the administration is “not spending any time, energy or breath analyzing Sen. Cruz’s whereabouts or his group chat,” a reference to leaked text messages of his wife’s relating to the trip:

Mainstream media also churned out their share of headlines critical of Cruz for the trip, and many took the opportunity to contrast it with Ocasio-Cortez’s successful fundraising for the state and the visit she planned to “highlight what’s happening on the ground,” as well as the efforts of former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) — whom Cruz defeated in the 2018 Senate election — as O’Rourke raved about his virtual phone banking operation for seniors in the state:

Several came to Cruz’s defense, and many compared the media coverage he had received with the coverage New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has received over his controversial handling of nursing homes in his state when coronavirus cases began surging last year:

A Cuomo aide recently admitted that the state’s administration had suppressed data about the number of coronavirus-related deaths that had occurred in nursing homes out of fear of criticism.

Write to Ashley Oliver at aoliver@breitbart.com.

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