As wildfires ravaged California last August, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) figured the devastation was a good opportunity to make a point about the ills of renewable energy. “California is now unable to perform even basic functions of civilization, like having reliable electricity,” he gloated on Twitter, responding to a directive from the state to conserve. “Biden/Harris/AOC want to make CA’s failed energy policy the standard nationwide. Hope you don’t like air conditioning!”
The implication here is that society collapsing to the point where citizens would be asked to keep their thermostats above 77 degrees would never happen in Texas, where fossil fuels and deregulation reign supreme. Well, about that…
After an extreme winter storm swept across the state earlier this week, millions of Texans still without power, grocery stores are stripped bare, and it’s still really, really cold. The Los Angeles Times even reported that one trapped family has been contemplating eating their cat’s food to survive. State and city officials are now advising people to start boiling their tap water so that’s it’s safe to drink. Water treatment plants are still offline, you see.
So let’s check in on what Cruz has to say now. What’s that? All right, never mind. He’s getting on plane to Mexico.
Yes, you read that right. As millions of his constituents are suffering through one of the most severe humanitarian crises the state has ever seen, Ted Cruz is jet-setting to a beach resort on the tip of the Yucatan Peninsula. Photos of Cruz aboard a plane began circulating on Twitter Wednesday night, and on Thursday morning Fox News confirmed that he and his family had indeed absconded to Mexico. “The photos speak for themselves,” the network’s source said.
Guess which US Senator from Texas flew to Cancun while the state was freezing to death and having to boil water? pic.twitter.com/fNY00EmMMR
— Gene Wu (@GeneforTexas) February 18, 2021
Later on Thursday, Cruz released a statement claiming that he was only flying down for the day because his daughters wanted to take a trip now that their school had been canceled. This is pretty dubious though, as it has been reported that Cruz only bought his return ticket Thursday morning, and that he had originally been scheduled to return on Saturday.
As tends to be the case with most anything Cruz does, the irony is rich here. Not only did he spend last summer bashing California for asking its citizens to take thoroughly reasonable energy-saving precautions, in December he went after Austin Mayor Steve Adler, a Democrat, for taking his family to Cabo San Lucas while at the same time advising Austinites to stay home during the pandemic, which, in case you may have forgotten, is still very much a thing that’s happening as Cruz relaxes in Cancun. “Hypocrites,” Cruz wrote of Adler. “Complete and utter hypocrites.”
On Thursday morning, the Texas Democratic Party called on Cruz to resign. “Ted Cruz jetting off to Mexico while Texans remain dying in the cold isn’t surprising but it is deeply disturbing and disappointing,” the party’s chairman, Gilberto Hinojosa, said in a statement. “Cruz is emblematic of what the Texas Republican Party and its leaders have become: weak, corrupt, inept, and self-serving politicians who don’t give a damn about the people they were elected to represent. They were elected by the people but have no interest or intent of doing their jobs.”
Meanwhile, the most prominent member Democrat in Texas, Beto O’Rourke, who tried and failed to unseat Cruz in 2018, is actually leading by example and doing what he can to help Texans who are suffering.
We made over 151,000 calls to senior citizens in Texas tonight. One of our vols talked to a man stranded at home w/out power in Killeen, hadn’t eaten in 2 days, got him a ride to a warming center and a hot meal. Help us reach more people, join us tomorrow: https://t.co/WOLn2HCrm1
— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) February 18, 2021
Cruz did tweet earlier this week that at this time he has “no defense” against those calling him out for taking California to task for its power woes during the wildfires last year, but the problem, as Hinojosa’s statement touched on, is that Cruz and his fellow Republicans like Governor Greg Abbott seem to have no interest in actually helping the people they represent, even in times of crisis. Instead, they consider the back-and-forth media battle to “own the libs” to be the primary function of their jobs. If they succeed here, they reckon, it’ll be enough to get them reelected in a state as conservative as Texas.
Sadly, they’ve been right.
This post has been updated.