While millions of Texans struggled in the freezing cold without basic utilities, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), along with his family, escaped to Cancún, Mexico on Feb. 17. Cruz’s decision to leave Texans helpless demonstrated his ignorance and neglect towards the people he represents, particularly his lower-income constituents who were disproportionately impacted by the cold.
With Cruz’s political power and presidential ambitions, his sunny escape from reality should not have even occurred to him. He should have prioritized the millions of lives impacted by the unexpected freezing temperatures over his own comfort, or in his words, being a “good dad”. He bailed on the state when it was at its weakest, and only when his reputation was tarnished, did he scramble to piece it back together.
“I started having second thoughts almost the moment I sat down on the plane because on the one hand, all of us who are parents have a responsibility to take care of our kids, take care of our family,” Cruz said, also admitting later that “It was obviously a mistake. In hindsight, I wouldn’t have done it.”
But his second thoughts were fostered by the widespread backlash from both sides of the political aisle and his concerns were clearly more about how the optics, not for his fellow Texans. Cruz only disclosed information about his family trip once he was caught in the act. Though many Republicans forswore Cruz’s actions, others were quick to defend him.
“He’s a senator. He doesn’t manage crises in states,” Donald Trump, Jr. said. “That’s a governor’s job. He’s a federal employee. They mostly vote on things.”
Regardless of Cruz’s specific title, politicians should provide support for their constituents, whether in working to fix the problem or providing comfort and reassurance.
Cruz’s blatant demonstration of privilege in fleeing the life-threatening environment is a slap in the face of the less fortunate and shows just how out of touch he is.
“His selfish decision to flee the country to Mexico truly illuminates how out of touch with reality Mr. Cruz is,” said Jaisnav Rajesh, a disappointed American, to The New York Times. “The lack of concern for his constituents and his state clearly highlights his self-centered mindset.”
Texans are now demanding Cruz’s resignation for failure to represent them, which was clearly the case during this crisis.
Cruz should have stayed in Texas, even if his presence was merely symbolic. Sure, he could not immediately fix the power grid or chase off the storm, but he could have helped out at warming shelters or provided necessary resources and equipment to assist struggling families. This is the very least he could have done. While Cruz was elsewhere, other politicians stepped in, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), who raised nearly $5 million for Texas relief. Cruz’s failure to support those that voted for him demonstrated his lack of empathy and care for his people. He broke the first rule for politicians: be there for your people during times of tragedy. Not in Cancun.