Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, mentioned his household trip to Mexico was “obviously a mistake” as he returned stateside Thursday following an uproar over his disappearance throughout a lethal winter storm.
The Republican senator mentioned he started second-guessing the journey because the second he first received on the aircraft Wednesday.
“In hindsight, I wouldn’t have done it,” he informed reporters.
The Associated Press and different media retailers reported he had traveled in another country along with his household as tons of of hundreds of Texans have been nonetheless grappling with the fallout of a winter storm that crippled the state’s energy grid. The journey drew criticism from leaders in each events and was seen as doubtlessly damaging to his future political ambitions.
Cruz mentioned in an earlier assertion Thursday he accompanied his household to Cancun a day earlier after his daughters requested to go on a visit with buddies, given that college was canceled for the week.
“Wanting to be a good dad, I flew down with them last night and am flying back this afternoon,” Cruz wrote.
“My staff and I are in constant communication with state and local leaders to get to the bottom of what happened in Texas,” he continued. “We want our power back, our water on, and our homes warm.”
Cruz informed reporters Thursday night time he returned to the U.S. as a result of he realized he wanted to be in Texas. He mentioned he had initially been scheduled to remain in Mexico by the weekend.
“I didn’t want all the screaming and yelling about this trip to distract even one moment from the real issues that I think Texans care about, which is keeping all of our families safe,” Cruz mentioned.
“It was obviously a mistake, and in hindsight, I wouldn’t have done it,” he mentioned.
The fierce political backlash comes as Cruz eyes a second presidential run in 2024. He was already some of the villainized Republicans in Congress, having created adversaries throughout the political spectrum in a profession outlined by far-right insurance policies and fights with the institution.
More just lately, he emerged as a pacesetter in former President Donald Trump’s push to overturn the outcomes of the November election. Billboards calling for his resignation stood alongside Texas highways earlier within the month.
Even the state Republican Party chair declined to return to Cruz’s protection Thursday.
“That’s something that he has to answer to his constituents about,” Texas GOP Chair Allen West mentioned when requested whether or not Cruz’s journey was applicable whereas Texans are with out energy and water.
“I’m here trying to take care of my family and look after my friends and others that are still without power,” West mentioned. “That’s my focus.”
Hundreds of hundreds of individuals in Texas awoke Thursday to a fourth day with out energy, and a water disaster was unfolding after winter storms wreaked havoc on the state’s energy grid and utilities.
Texas officers ordered 7 million individuals — one-quarter of the inhabitants of the nation’s second-largest state — to boil faucet water earlier than consuming the water, after days of document low temperatures that broken infrastructure and froze pipes.
In Austin, some hospitals confronted a loss in water stress and, in some circumstances, warmth.
News of Cruz’s absence rapidly rippled throughout the state.
Livia Trevino, a 24-year-old whose Austin dwelling was nonetheless with out water Thursday, mentioned she felt deserted by authorities leaders.
“They are taking vacations and leaving the country, so they don’t have to deal with this, and we are freezing to death. We don’t have water and we don’t have food,” she mentioned.
In his assertion, Cruz mentioned his household had misplaced warmth and energy as nicely.
“This has been an infuriating week for Texans,” he mentioned.
While the state of affairs won’t assist Cruz’s political future, the two-term senator is just not in any instant political hazard. His present time period expires in early 2025, and the unofficial starting of the subsequent Republican presidential major election is 2 years away.
Still, Democrats throughout Washington have been keen to speak concerning the controversy.
One of Cruz’s most aggressive critics on the left, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., inspired her supporters Thursday to volunteer for a “welfare check phone bank” to assist Texans affected by the storm.
“So many elected leaders in Texas have failed their constituents,” Rep. Ocasio-Cortez wrote in an e-mail. “Instead of focusing on relief, they’ve chosen to go on Fox News to spread lies or to board a plane to Cancun.”
Earlier within the day, White House press secretary Jen Psaki leaned right into a query about Cruz’s “whereabouts.”
“I don’t have any updates on the exact location of Sen. Ted Cruz nor does anyone at the White House,” Psaki mentioned, including President Joe Biden’s administration is targeted on “working directly with leadership in Texas and surrounding states on addressing the winter storm and the crisis at hand.”
Cruz’s workplace declined to reply particular questions concerning the household trip, however his workers reached out to the Houston Police Department on Wednesday afternoon to say the senator can be arriving on the airport, in line with division spokesperson Jodi Silva. She mentioned officers “monitored his movements” whereas Cruz was on the airport.
Silva couldn’t say whether or not such requests are typical for Cruz’s journey or whether or not his workers had made an analogous request for his return flight.
U.S. Capitol Police officers and the Senate sergeant-at-arms have inspired lawmakers and their workers to take heed to potential threats and to contemplate advising legislation enforcement about their journey at airports and different transportation hubs.
Cruz’s workplace didn’t instantly say whether or not the senator would self-quarantine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises individuals who have traveled through the pandemic to get a coronavirus check three to 5 days after their return and to quarantine for a full week, whatever the check outcomes.
Cruz checked in for his return flight Thursday afternoon in Cancun and walked briskly by the terminal pulling a curler bag to safety. He wore a golf shirt, denims and a face masks within the type of the Texas state flag.
The senator was accompanied by a Spanish-speaking man sporting a black polo shirt with the identify and emblem of The Ritz-Carlton lodge chain.
Cruz informed reporters that he deliberate to “go home and keep working to get the grid reopened, to get power restored, to get the water back on.”
“A lot of Texans are hurting and this crisis is frustrating. It’s frustrating for millions of Texans. It shouldn’t happen,” he mentioned.
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