Ted Cruz, speaking at home in Texas on Thursday afternoon, admitted he made a mistake in flying to Cancun amid the storms
Ted Cruz’s wife Heidi texted friends and neighbors urging them to ‘escape for the week’ and join them in sunny Cancun before the family fled Texas during a deadly energy crisis, it has been revealed.
Cruz, Heidi and their daughters Caroline, 12, and Cathryn, 10, fled Houston on Wednesday afternoon while millions in Texas struggled without heat or water.
Their trip sparked outrage, with many demanding to know why Cruz – a two term Senator who was re-elected in 2013 – didn’t stay behind to help alleviate the crisis like other leaders and private citizens.
Cruz changed his flight at 6am on Thursday after a firestorm of outrage erupted overnight. On Thursday afternoon, he released a statement saying his ‘girls’ had asked him if they could go away with friends the day before and the family quickly booked the trip.
He said he was just ‘trying to be a good dad’ by dropping them off, and that he was returning to Texas to battle the energy crisis.
But text messages obtained by The New York Times show how Heidi encouraged other mothers on the street they live on to join them.
On Wednesday morning, she wrote: ‘Anyone can or want to leave for the week? We may go to Cancun there is a direct flight at 445pm and hotels w capacity. Seriously. Covid test to come back which we will take there.’
Another mother responded: ‘We are now thinking along those lines. Sounds so wonderful.’ Another said: We are supposed to go to Cabo Friday.’
Heidi then booked the family’s flights and informed the group and told them where they planned to stay: ‘Ritz Carlton. $309 plus tax.’
One of the other mothers replied: ‘Cancun Cabo even Boston sounds amazing!!! I would live (sic) to go but not freezing under the down comforter with hot chilies and a hoodie and sadly I can’t leave [redacted] or my mother in law.’
Heidi, a managing director in Goldman Sachs’ Houston office, also asked their friends: ‘Are you guys warm enough? We have a fireplace! Let us know. Our house is FREEZING tho… we couldn’t stand it anymore.’
Their daughters were never referenced in the exchange.
Hours later, the Cruzes were at the airport. They left behind their dog – Snowflake – which was spotted by a reporter staring forlornly out of the front door on Thursday, before the Senator arrived back home.
In an interview on Thursday night, Ted admitted he regretted going.
‘My girls said school’s been cancelled, can we take a trip and go somewhere warm. And Heidi and I, as parents, we said OK, sure,’ he told Sean Hannity.
On Thursday night, Cruz doubled down on the excuse, telling ABC 13 during an interview at his Houston home: ‘They said, ‘Look, lets take a trip. Lets go with some of our friends and lets get out of here and lets go somewhere warm. And Heidi and I said … lets go.’
‘You question what I was thinking, and … I was trying to take care of my family.
‘I was trying to take care of my kids. It’s unfortunate, the fire storm that came from it.
‘It was not my intention. In saying yes to my daughters to somehow diminish all the Texans that were going through real hardship.’
Cruz is shown with his wife Heidi (right) and one of his two daughters (left)
The Ritz Carlton in Cancun where the Cruzes are staying, paying $309 a night at the luxury ocean-front hotel
At 1pm on Thursday, when the entire Cruz family was still in sunny Cancun, a reporter, Michael Hardy, spotted Snowflake looking out the door of the family’s Houston home
Snowflake, the Cruz’s poodle, was left behind in their freezing home while they went to Mexico
Ted Cruz was fiercely criticized for his jaunt, and swiftly returned on realizing the terrible PR move.
He landed back in Houston on Thursday afternoon and said he ‘regrets’ flying to Cancun in the middle of the state’s energy crisis for a vacation – but insisted he was ‘just trying to be a dad’.
‘It was obviously a mistake and in hindsight I wouldn’t have done it,’ he said, speaking on arrival at home in Houston.
‘I was trying to be a dad.
‘And all of us have made decisions – when you’ve got two girls who have been cold for two days, and haven’t had heat or power, and they are saying: ‘Look, we don’t have school, why don’t we go, let’s get out of here.”
He added: ‘I think there are a lot of parents that would be like, ‘If I can do this, great.’
‘That’s what I wanted to do. As I said, really from the moment I sat on the plane, I began really second-guessing that decision.’
On Monday night, Cruz spoke on a radio show which airs from 5-8pm, telling the host: ‘Thankfully, my home, we didn’t lose power.’
This was the situation in Austin and many other parts of Texas while the Senator and his family were in sunny Mexico
The power went out at around 6pm on Tuesday, he told Hannity on Thursday.
His office previously told DailyMail.com that the power went out on Monday night.
Protesters at Houston airport held out signs as he landed on Thursday that read: ’24 dead’.
Others gathered outside his home to show their anger at his jaunt.
They yelled: ‘Resign!’ as he spoke to local media outside his home.
He also claimed that the girls asked him ‘yesterday’ if they could go away, and he and Heidi ‘agreed’.
Within hours they were all on the plane.
Temperatures plummeted to as low as -2F in Texas this week and snow and ice has blanketed much of the state. It has been 85 F and sunny in Cancun all week by contrast.
Cruz was slammed for both the trip and for seeming to blame it on his kids once people started criticizing him for it.
Before he released his statement, sources told Fox and The New York Times that the trip was pre-planned.
Cruz was also carrying a large carry-on which suggested he planned to stay for longer than just one night.
He later admitted he intended to stay ‘throughout the weekend’.
Heidi Cruz’s texts said she planned on returning to Houston on Sunday evening, landing back in the Texan city at 6pm after a four night break at the luxury Mexican beach resort.
A protester, Mary Kay Hoffman, waited for Ted Cruz at Houston airport with a sign reminding him of the death toll from storms
Protesters waited for Cruz outside his home on Thursday afternoon as he arrived home, less than 24 hours after leaving
Cruz released statement on Thursday claiming he was just escorting his wife and daughters to Texas, that the trip was last minute and that they’d also lost power. United sources said he changed his flight at 6am on Thursday amid a swell of criticism
Before flying on Wednesday, Cruz requested a police escort through Houston airport, before his flight to Cancun at around 4pm.
He was pictured at the United Airlines lounge, at the gate and on the plane before take-off.
He was also on the standby list for an upgrade to business class but didn’t get it.
His wife Heidi’s name wasn’t on the list for an upgrade.
The family was planning on staying in a resort they’ve visited before, sources said, though it’s unclear which exactly.
Temperatures in Texas this week dropped as low as -2 F – the lowest they have been since 1903 – and snow and ice is blanketing the state.
By contrast, it is 85 F and sunny all week.
Cruz pictured arriving on Thursday at Cancun Airport amid uproar over his planned vacation to Mexico in the middle of an energy crisis in Texas
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz speaks to the media at the Cancun International Airport before boarding his plane back to the U.S., in Cancun, Mexico February 18, 2021. He was wearing a Texas mask and spoke briefly to Telemundo, a local station, amid uproar over his planned vacation during the worst energy crisis Texas has ever seen
Ted Cruz checks in for a flight at Cancun International Airport
Cruz was due to return on Saturday, but as criticism of the trip exploded on Thursday morning, with many furious Texans demanding to know why he hadn’t stayed behind to help in the crisis, he changed his plans.
He was on the list for a business class upgrade on one of the afternoon flights out of Cancun on Thursday afternoon.
To re-enter the US from a foreign country, all passengers must first test negative for COVID-19 by law.
They’re then advised by the CDC to obtain a negative COVID test again, three to five days after they return, and quarantine for a full seven days after they return. Texas has no quarantine laws for entering from another country or state.
According to ABC, his office contacted the Houston Police Department staff at the airport and ‘requested assistance’ on Wednesday before his outbound flight.
‘HPD officers monitored his movements through the terminal,’ a spokesman for the force said.
The situation in Texas is so bad that people are being told to boil water before drinking to reduce any possible contaminants due to a failure in water pressure and plants.
The interior of the Ritz Carlton in Cancun, Mexico, where the Texas Senator spent one night before returning to his state amid widespread outrage
Cruz was dropped off at the airport on Thursday by a Ritz Carlton van
Sources at United say the Senator hurriedly changed his flight home at 6am on Thursday morning
Cruz was wheeling a large carry-on which suggested he planned to spend more than one night at the Mexican resort
Many can’t because they don’t have the power to do it.
Cruz on Monday said that his home hadn’t lost power, and that he and his wife had welcomed in their children’s friends who weren’t as lucky.
CRUZ’S CONFLICTING COMMENTS
MONDAY ‘Thankfully, my home, we didn’t lose power.
‘If you can stay home, don’t go out on the roads, don’t risk the ice. …
‘Don’t risk it. Keep your family safe, and just stay home and hug your kids.’
THURSDAY MORNING, IN A STATEMENT: ‘Like millions of Texans, our family lost heat and power too.
‘With school canceled 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.’
THURSDAY AFTERNOON, TO KTRT: ‘It was obviously a mistake and in hindsight I wouldn’t have done it. I was trying to be a dad.
THURSDAY EVENING, TO HANNITY:
‘I started to have second thoughts almost immediately.
‘Because the crisis here in Texas you need to be on the ground, because as much as you can do by phone and Zoom, it’s not the same.
‘So I returned this afternoon and I’m here working to do everything we can to get the power turned on.’
‘Thankfully, my home, we didn’t lose power.
‘So right now we’ve got a bunch of the neighborhood kids all over playing with our girls, because their parents lost power and our house was lucky.
‘So we’ve got kids running up and down the stairs right now,’ he told radio host Joe Paglialuro on Monday.
He went on: ‘If you can stay home, don’t go out on the roads, don’t risk the ice… Don’t risk it.
‘Keep your family safe, and just stay home and hug your kids.’
On top of outrage over Cruz’s trip, he was also mocked and compared to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie who closed all of the state’s public beaches in 2017 during a government shutdown over a budget standoff, then took his family to the beach.
People have abandoned their frozen homes in Texas to seek warmth in shelters across the state.
On Thursday morning, the Mayor of Galveston said the ‘human suffering’ he was witnessing was ‘very concerning’ and that the situation was worse than any hurricane the state has experienced because it’s affecting the whole state and not just the coast.
Cruz was shown on the list of passengers waiting for an upgrade from coach to business on Wednesday night, under his given name Rafael Edward Cruz.
He was inundated with criticism from people who called him ‘morally bankrupt’.
An unnamed Republican source confirmed to FOX News that it was Cruz at the airport.
‘The photos speak for themselves,’ they said.
He had earlier been forced to admit he had ‘no defense’ after an August 2020 tweet mocking power outages in California resurfaced.
Cruz tweeted Wednesday: ‘I got no defense. A blizzard strikes Texas & our state shuts down. Not good. Stay safe!’
He had said: ‘California is now unable to perform even basic functions of civilization, like having reliable electricity.
‘Biden/Harris/AOC want to make CA’s failed energy policy the standard nationwide. Hope you don’t like air conditioning!’
Ted Cruz is pictured on Wednesday afternoon at Houston Airport jetting to Cancun with his wife and kids on a United Airlines flight while more than 3million Texans were freezing in their homes without power. On Tuesday, he told people to stay at home and ‘hug their kids’and above all else, avoid driving or traveling in the dangerous conditions
Cruz is shown with his wife Heidi (right) and one of his two daughters (left)
Cruz narrowly missed out on a business class seat. He was on the list for an upgrade – his wife’s name wasn’t
Cruz in the United Airlines lounge at Houston airport on Wednesday before his flight
After images of Cruz at the airport surfaced online Sawyer Hackett, senior advisor and communications for Mayor of San Antonio Julian Castro tweeted: ‘It appears in the middle of the worst energy crisis in the history of Texas, @tedcruz is on his way to Cancun with his family.’
Beto O’Rourke was among those who criticized him.
‘Cruz seems to believe there isn’t much for him to do in Texas for the millions of fellow Texans who remain without electricity/water and are literally freezing,’ he tweeted on Wednesday night.
Hackett later called for Cruz to ‘resign or be expelled immediately’.
Twitter user Elsa Ramon posted: ‘My 73-yo dad lives in Austin and is sleeping in full winter camping gear.
He sits in his running truck with the heater on during the day for warmth, @tedcruz. Enjoy Cancun, you morally bankrupt piece of s***.’
National Weather Service lead forecaster Bob Oravec had earlier said of Texas: ‘There’s really no letup to some of the misery people are feeling across that area.’
Pictures then emerged of Cruz waiting in line to check in his bags and boarding the flight to Mexico.
This week’s extreme weather has been blamed for the deaths of more than 30 people, some of whom perished while struggling to keep warm inside their homes.
In the Houston area, one family succumbed to carbon monoxide from car exhaust in their garage. Another family died while using a fireplace to keep warm.
Eric Bennis sits with his children inside a furniture store which opened as a shelter Wednesday in Houston; Millions in Texas still had no power after a historic snowfall and single-digit temperatures created a surge of demand for electricity
People wait in line to fill propane tanks Wednesday in Houston. Customers had to wait over an hour in the freezing rain to fill their tanks
Leonel Solis and Estefani Garcia use their car to heat their home in East Dallas area of Dallas on Wednesday. The couple, who lost power on Sunday, have been using electricity from a neighbor’s generator and heat from their car to stay warm
The president of the Texas power grid manager, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, said he hoped many customers would see at least partial service restored by later Wednesday or Thursday.
Problems first began with Winter Storm Uri – a brutal weather system that is sweeping the country. Every other state in the storm’s path has been able to withstand it because they operate on a shared power source which means that if one state’s supply goes down, it can draw from the shared reserve.
But furious Texans now want to know why the state’s infrastructure wasn’t properly prepared, especially after a similar storm in 2011 caused the same problems. The Texas Tribune reports that not all of the generators in the state were upgraded after 2011 to tackle the issue.
Jeff Dennis, managing director of Advanced Energy Economy, said: ‘Where did those recommendations go, and how were they implemented? Those are going to be some pretty key questions.’
The upgrades are what’s called ‘winterizing’ the energy system but experts say it is regularly put off because the changes are expensive.
Texas’ deregulated energy market gives little financial incentives for operators to prepare for the rare bout of intensely cold weather, an issue critics have been pointing out for years.
Water pressure has fallen across the state because lines have frozen, and many residents are leaving faucets dripping in hopes of preventing pipes from freezing, said Toby Baker, executive director of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott urged residents to shut off water to their homes, if possible, to prevent more busted pipes and preserve pressure in municipal systems.
Travel remains ill-advised in much of the United States, with roadways treacherous and thousands of flights canceled.
There are also delays to the COVID-19 vaccine distribution and many doses that were being stored are under threat because the freezers storing them can’t operate without power.
And there are also fears that without any new gas becoming available soon, prices are about to skyrocket by as much as 20 cents per gallon.
ERCOT officials still can’t say when power will be restored. ‘I know it’s frustrating we can’t offer a time certain, but it’s a process we’re engaged in to get the grid back in balance,’ ERCOT chief executive officer Bill Magness said during a news conference Tuesday.
MEME MATERIAL: THE INTERNET’S HILARIOUS RESPONSE TO FLYIN’ TED’S CANCUN TRIP
Other social media users decided to doctor Cruz into famous historical images such as the moon landing, sailing into Ellis Island, the Tiananmen Square, and at the Normandy landings, as pictured above
Another from user Anne Clayton joked of Cruz sending a postcard back from Mexico to his state, pictured
Cruz is seen standing in-between a man wearing a Trump hat and the rioter known as the Qanon Shaman
Yet more photoshopped Cruz into TV shows and movies, including Forrest Gump (pictured) and The Simpsons
Cruz was compared to the 2015 movie vacation featuring Ed Helms. The senator is seen photoshopped here
Cruz was photoshopped into pictures of the Capitol riot. He is a Trump loyalist who backed his claims of election fraud
The senator’s arrival in Cancun was compared the opening sequence of Jaws, pictured
A meme from @fohtohgirl pointed out the irony in Cruz, a major Trump loyalist, picking Mexico for his vacation. ‘Of all the places, you had to go to Mexico??’ it reads over an image of Trump on the White House lawn shouting at Cruz
Twitter user Greg Price compared Cruz to an episode on The Simpsons in which the mayor claims he has not left the city but is really filming with a backdrop while actually at the beach, as pictured above
Sanders was also photoshopped into a picture of Cruz drinking his coffee as he sat in the airport lounge.
Cruz was placed among the January 6 Capitol rioters with his suitcase and overnight bag
Some used this photoshopped image of Cruz strolling past a fire to compare to him abandoning Texas
Others compared Cruz’ sun vacation to the plight of Texans still battling through the snow
Some took a hit at Cruz after her claimed on Thursday that he only went to accompany his wife and daughters
Tweets and memes mocking Ted Cruz after he was caught flying to Cancun midst a global pandemic. Some versions of this image of him and Chris Christie on a private beach also included Sen. Bernie Sanders in his mittens
Cruz and his suitcase and massive overnight bag were photoshopped into the moon landing
He is also photoshopped into the bottom left of this iconic picture of New York’s old Penn Station
Senator Ted Cruz was phtooshopped walking in front of the tank at Tiananmen Square
The Republican lawmaker was also doctored into the deck of a ship sailing into Ellis Island
The famous distracted boyfriend meme was used to showed an appalled Texas looking on as Cruz is watching Cancun
One user suggested that Cruz had texted former rival in the 2018 Texas Senate race, Beto Rourke, to ‘hold the fort
Social media usres joked that Cruz was u-turning and cutting his vacation short after being called out
Cruz was compared to yet another moment from movie Forrest Gump in a wave of memes on Thursday