Congressman Matt Gaetz doubles down on his defense of Ted Cruz’s Cancún vacation

cpac matt gaetz
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference being held in the Hyatt Regency on February 26, 2021 in Orlando, Florida.

  • Rep. Matt Gaetz has accused the media of being “biased” in their reporting of Ted Cruz’s Cancún trip.
  • Gaetz said the news media were more concerned about the trip than “caravans going through Mexico.”
  • The congressman previously said that Cruz shouldn’t have apologized for his vacation.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz on Saturday accused the media of being “biased” in their reporting of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s vacation to Cancún, Mexico.

Gaetz, who is an outspoken ally of former President Donald Trump, was speaking on the third day of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Florida when he made the comments.

“Now, speaking of all this bias, it was awful the way the media treated Ted Cruz,” Gaetz said, according to The Independent. 

“I mean the left and the media were more worried about Ted Cruz going to Mexico to spend his own money, then they are about the caravans going through Mexico to take ours,” he added, as applause erupted in the crowd.

Cruz has been facing calls to resign after he was caught flying to Cancún last week to stay at a luxury five-star resort with his family amid a catastrophic winter storm that left more than 20 people dead in Texas.

This is not the first time Gaetz has defended Cruz over his trip to Mexico.

Shortly after the Texas senator issued his apology, Gaetz tweeted: “Ted Cruz should not have apologized.” He did not elaborate on the assertion.

According to a YouGov poll published this week, Cruz’s approval rating among Republicans has dropped by more than 20 percent.

Cruz has since apologized for the trip and told reporters he regretted his decision. “It was obviously a mistake,” he said last week. “In hindsight, I wouldn’t have done it.”

However, earlier this week, the Texas senator accused the media of its coverage of his Mexican-vacation scandal, saying it was “obsessed” with him because it is suffering from “Trump withdrawal.”

 

Gaetz has been serving Florida’s 1st congressional district since 2017. He’s been called “one of the most enthusiastic defenders of President Trump on cable news” and a “proud Trump protégé.”

Trump himself is expected to speak at CPAC, in what will be his first public appearance since leaving the White House.

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Ted Cruz rants about comedians, late night TV, and mask-wearing before shouting at people to ‘just have fun’ in wild CPAC speech

ted cruz cpac speech
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex.

  • Ted Cruz’s CPAC speech began with a joke about the Cancun scandal and ended in a guttural scream about freedom.
  • Cruz railed against late night TV, mocked mask-wearing, and expressed his support for Trump.
  • “That is our party,” he yelled, “and these deplorables are here to stay.”
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s speech at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference went off the rails Friday as he shouted about late night comedians, mask-wearing, and President Joe Biden.

“Orlando is awesome. It’s not as nice as Cancun, but it’s nice,” Cruz began, referring to the scandal he sparked when he left storm-ravaged Texas for Cancun with his family last week. The Republican senator returned to Houston a day later after drawing sharp criticism for leaving the state he represented for a vacation in the middle of a devastating winter storm.

Later in his speech, Cruz issued a rallying cry in support of former President Donald Trump.

“There are a whole lot of voices in Washington that want to just erase the last four years, want to go back to the world before where we had government of the lobbyists, by the lobbyists, and for the lobbyists,” he said.

“Where the Republicans’ compelling message was, ‘Republicans: we waste less,'” Cruz continued. “And they look at Donald J. Trump and they look at the millions and millions of people inspired who went to battle fighting alongside President Trump, and they’re terrified and they want him to go away.”

“Let me tell you this right now: Donald J. Trump ain’t going anywhere,” Cruz added even though the former president once suggested that the senator’s father helped assassinate John F. Kennedy and insinuated that his wife was ugly.

Here are some other highlights from Cruz’s speech:

  • Mask-wearing is virtue-signaling: “We’re gonna wear masks for the next 300 years,” Cruz said. “And by the way, not just one mask – two, three, four – you can’t have too many masks! How much virtue do you wanna signal?”
  • Railing against comedians and cancel culture before telling people to “just have fun”: “You know, Jerry Seinfeld doesn’t tell comedy anymore because then he jokes that funny is canceled,” Cruz said. “You know, ‘SNL’ is unwatchable. The late night comedy, they stand up and say ‘We hate Donald Trump.’ Yeah, no kidding. We didn’t get that the last 9,000 times you said that.”
  • Democrats are trying to turn skaters into socialists: “And let me tell you, right now, in Los Angeles, there’s some skater kid who’s 19, who’s told that it’s hip and chic and cool to be a leftist socialist, man,” Cruz said. “Who’s gonna hear a message, ‘Wait a second, these guys don’t want me to speak? Think? Have fun? Do what I wanna do?'”
  • There were no “Black Lives Matter” demonstrations in Houston last year because of the Second Amendment: “In Houston where I live, I have to tell you, there weren’t any rioters because let’s be very clear, if there had been, they would discover what the state of Texas thinks about the 2nd amendment right to keep and bear arms,” Cruz said.

Cruz rounded out his speech by warning that the US is in a period of “dark days” and that “the country will come back to sanity.” He added: “And mark my words, 2022 is going to be a fantastic election year and so is 2024 as we stand together and defend liberty, defend the Constitution, defend the Bill of Rights of every American.”

In closing, Cruz quoted William Wallace and screamed, “FREEDOM!”

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Ted Cruz’s colleagues mocked him by putting memes of his Cancun trip in the Senate gym locker room: ‘Bienvenido de Nuevo, Ted!’

ted cruz locker room memes
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex.

  • Ted Cruz’s Senate colleagues had some fun at his expense on Wednesday, according to NBC News.
  • Photos of Cruz from his infamous Cancun trip were plastered around the Senate gym’s locker room.
  • “Bienvenido de Nuevo, Ted!” the color printouts for the prank read, or “welcome back.”
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

With so many former class presidents crammed into one place, Capitol Hill proved vulnerable to high school hijinks on Wednesday morning.

Following his infamous Cancun junket, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas was the subject of a prank in the locker room of the Senate gym midweek, according to a report from Carol Lee and Leigh Ann Caldwell of NBC News.

Early birds turning up for a workout Wednesday morning came across color printouts of Cruz in his airport getup, which included a light polo shirt and a mask bearing the Texas flag, according to NBC, who reviewed the materials provided by two sources.

“The rendering featured a manipulated photo of Cruz from his well-documented trip to Mexico, dragging his luggage across an arctic landscape while holding a tropical cocktail garnished with a slice of fruit in his other hand,” Lee and Caldwell wrote.

The printouts also included a crossover meme, with Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont’s viral pose in mittens at President Joe Biden’s inauguration photoshopped into the frigid backdrop, according to NBC.

Bernie Sanders memes
Bernie Sanders sitting alone with mittens on sparked a flurry of memes.

Beyond the optics of the Cruz Cancun trip, blowback intensified after Houston police confirmed they received a request for security assistance from Cruz’s office, and sent a detail to the airport as first responders were stretched thin during the life-threatening power and utilities crisis.

Sometime later on Wednesday, the photos were taken down, according to the report.

Only current and former senators are allowed in the gym, which has been the source of other Capitol Hill drama, such as when Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky took heat for getting a workout in after he had tested positive for COVID-19.

Cruz’s office did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

It remains unclear who carried out the prank.

 

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Mexico’s tourist corridor is becoming a dream destination for drug traffickers

Playa del Carmen Quintana Roo Mexico police soldiers beach
Municipal police stand guard on the beach in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, January 17, 2017.

  • Recent high-profile drug plane interceptions suggest the once tranquil Mexican state of Quintana Roo is growing as a drug-trafficking hub.
  • Most of the drugs are likely smuggled on to the US, while some are shipped to Europe or remain in Mexico for domestic production.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

A recent string of high-profile drug plane interceptions suggests the once tranquil Mexican state of Quintana Roo is being increasingly relied upon as a drug trafficking hub.

On February 5, local media reports claimed a Cessna-type jet suspected of being used by drug traffickers had been found partially incinerated after it landed in the community of Nuevo Tabasco, close to Quintana Roo’s border with Campeche.

Military officials were present at the site, as it was suspected drugs transported by the plane might have been hidden in mountains surrounding the illegal landing spot, according to local media outlet, Quadratín Quintana Roo.

The report added that the aircraft had been detected by Mexico’s air force earlier that morning, before it was found partially destroyed hours later.

Last year, the state saw a number of irregular landings linked to drug trafficking.

In October, Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador confirmed in a morning press conference that a plane carrying 1.5 tons of cocaine had landed at Chetumal Airport in southern Quintana Roo just hours earlier.

López Obrador reported that three suspicious jets had been detected entering Mexican airspace before they were swiftly pursued by members of the nation’s military and Secretary of National Defense. While one plane landed in Chetumal, with authorities subsequently detaining a member of its crew, the remaining two aircraft managed to evade authorities.

Mexico soldier Cancun
A Mexican soldier patrols a street in Cancun, August 19, 2007.

Military sources suggested the planes could have arrived in the state from Colombia or Venezuela, according to Sol Quintana Roo.

Last July, the state’s then-police chief, Alberto Capella, tweeted that a plane suspected of being involved in illicit activities had strikingly landed on a public highway in the municipality of Chunhuhub.

After consulting military sources, Milenio reported the Hawker 700 jet had initiated its journey in Venezuela, before landing on the Mexican road in broad daylight, where a truck was awaiting its descent. The media outlet added that authorities later found both vehicles abandoned, discovering just under half a ton of cocaine worth over $5.2 million left in the deserted truck.

Drug planes from Argentina and Colombia also disembarked in Quintana Roo last year.

Authorities intercepted an aircraft piloted by two Bolivian nationals traveling from Argentina to Mexico’s largely touristic Cozumel island in January 2020, seizing around a ton of cocaine in the process.

Some of those making such flights have reportedly managed to transport their illicit loads onward overland.

Most crews have evaded capture, despite being traced and pursued by authorities.

Just beyond Quintana Roo’s southern border, Belize has also seen such flights land illegally, as drugs are increasingly trafficked northward. On January 29 of this year, a clandestine aircraft carrying over 90 kilograms of suspected cocaine disembarked in the nation, with nine people detained following its descent, media outlet Amandala reported.

InSight Crime analysis

Mexico Cancun soldiers mall shooting
Mexican soldiers in a mall following reports of gunfire, in Cancun, January 17, 2017.

Illicit flights disembarking in the state have largely carried sizeable shipments of cocaine, ultimately fueled by record production of the drug in a host of South American countries including Colombia, Bolivia and Peru.

While 2021 has only seen one such flight disembark in Quintana Roo so far, last year eight aircraft linked to drug trafficking were reported to have made irregular landings in the state, preceded by 2019’s staggering total of 14, according to the Quadratín Quintana Roo.

However, the media outlet added that Mexico’s air surveillance system – controlled by the nation’s air force – reports an average of three irregular flights made within the state’s boundaries per week.

Although cocaine has passed through Quintana Roo for decades, security analyst Alejandro Hope told InSight Crime that an increased number of drug flights landing in the state in recent years may be a product of the tightening land border between Mexico and Central American countries, as well as former US President Donald Trump’s pressure on the Mexican government to act in this respect.

Most of the drugs that are successfully transported on from Quintana Roo ultimately reach the US, while some are shipped to Europe or remain in Mexico for domestic production, according to Hope.

The analyst added that those who receive the cocaine in Quintana Roo may be linked to the Jalisco Cartel New Generation (CJNG). The drugs may also be collected by residual members of the Gulf Cartel and Zetas, who have been known to operate in the state, Hope suggested.

InSight Crime reported on how Quintana Roo has seen an increase in violence related to organized crime of late, with independent cartels battling for control over lucrative drug distribution points. Such battles have been spilling over into events attended by tourists, allegedly including a music festival in Tulum last October.

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Ted Cruz says his wife is ‘pissed’ over leaked Cancun texts, suggests people ‘just don’t be —holes’

cruz airport police
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., checking into Cancun International Airport on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021.

  • Ted Cruz said his wife was “pissed” over leaked group texts about their Cancun trip. 
  • “Here’s a suggestion: just don’t be —holes,” Cruz said during a podcast interview. 
  • Cruz has faced a wave of backlash for traveling to Cancun amid a deadly winter storm in Texas.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

GOP Sen. Ted Cruz on Tuesday said his wife, Heidi Cruz, was “pretty pissed” about leaked texts from a group chat regarding their controversial jaunt to Cancun, Mexico, last week. 

“Heidi’s pretty pissed at that,” Cruz said on the “Ruthless” podcast, referring to the leaked texts. “She actually was over at her neighbor’s house yesterday sort of walking through.”

After news broke of the Cruz’s trip to Cancun, texts were leaked to Insider and the New York Times from a group chat in which Heidi appeared to urge neighbors to join them on the excursion. 

“It’s a sign of how ridiculously politicized and nasty and just … You know, here’s a suggestion: just don’t be —holes,” Cruz said. “Just treat each other as human beings. Have some degree, some modicum of respect.”

 

The Texas Republican has faced a wave of criticism and mockery for traveling to Cancun as his state faced a deadly winter storm, leaving millions without power, on top of the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cruz was spotted traveling to Cancun last Wednesday. Within less than a day, Cruz changed his travel plans and flew back to Texas.

He blamed the trip on his daughters, stating that they wanted to go to Cancun and be a “good dad.” Cruz told reporters that the original plan was to stay in Cancun through the weekend, but the “firestorm” he saw in response to the trip led him to return early. The Texas senator conceded that the tropical vacation was “obviously a mistake.”

But Cruz has already changed his tone.

On Monday, he told Fox News’ Sean Hannity that the media is “obsessed” with his Cancun trip because it’s “suffering from Trump withdrawal.”

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Ted Cruz stayed at this luxury 5-star hotel during his trip to Cancun

Cancun, Mexico
  • Sen. Ted Cruz visited a Ritz-Carlton hotel amid the Texas storm last week.
  • The five-star resort has 9 dining options and a panoramic ocean-front view.
  • Amid backlash, Cruz stayed at the hotel for one night before returning home.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Last week, Texas Senator Ted Cruz left behind frigid Texas temperatures to visit the luxurious Ritz-Carlton in Cancun.

Cruz’s decision to fly to Cancun, while millions of Texas residents battled severe winter storms, power outages, and water shortages, sparked intense backlash.

The senator also invited several people outside of the family to the hotel, which the Cruz family has reportedly visited “many times” in the past, according to leaked text messages from the senator’s wife, Heidi Cruz.

Cancun has become a popular destination during the pandemic. Expedia’s 2021 Travel Trends Report lists Cancun as the No. 1 destination for US travelers.

Here’s what you need to know about the luxury Cancun resort Cruz frequents:

Accommodations at the five-star luxury hotel start at over $300

The Mexican resort has a sweeping ocean view. All the rooms at the hotel look out on the Caribbean sea and feature private balconies and terraces.

The luxury resort also has one of the largest hotel beach fronts in Cancun – 1,200 feet of prime beach real estate.

Forbes’ Travel Guide ranks the Ritz-Carlton as one of the top luxury hotels in Cancun.

 

The hotel has over nine dining options

The Ritz-Carlton can house over 360 guests and features two award-winning restaurants – Fantino and The Club Grill.

Guests can visit Fantino, an upscale Mediterranean restaurant decorated with Old World-style elegance, or enjoy live jazz music at The Club Grill. 

Hotel visitors can also participate in a private dining experience from their balcony with the hotel’s 24-hour dining services or try the resort’s expansive tequila menu at D-Lounge, which is home to over 100 different tequila options.

The Ritz-Carlton also has interactive meal services. The Culinary Center has an oceanfront kitchen where award-winning chefs prepare a custom meal, teaching the guests throughout the process. 

 

The resort has one of the top spas in Cancun

While visitors can enjoy private beach cabanas and lounges off the ocean, the hotel features a wide variety of other aquatic amenities, including two swimming pools and a whirlpool that looks out on the ocean.

The Ritz-Carlton has one of the area’s best spas, according to Forbes. The 5,500-square-foot spa focuses on Mayan-inspired healing practices.

Additionally, guests looking to relax in their rooms can enjoy 400-count Egyptian cotton sheets, large marble bathrooms with a separate shower and bathtub, as well as bi-daily cleaning services.

Cruz, who said he planned to work in Cancun, would have likely used the resort’s full service Business Center and childcare options.

 

Cruz cut his stay at the Ritz-Carlton short after a picture of the senator at the airport went viral.

He decided to only stay at the hotel for one night after multiple state residents expressed outrage at his decision to leave Texas in the middle of a deep freeze that left many Texans without electricity, heat, or fresh water.

Cruz later apologized for the trip as protestors called for his resignation.

“It was obviously a mistake and in hindsight I wouldn’t have done it,” Cruz said.

Upon his return, Cruz was seen helping serve meals to first responders – a move that defied CDC guidelines, requiring individuals to quarantine for at least a week after traveling.

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It’s not just Ted Cruz, Americans have been escaping to Mexico since the beginning of pandemic – here’s why

Cancun
Cancun, Mexico is one of the few international tourist destinations still open to Americans.

  • Senator Ted Cruz of Texas was embroiled in a scandal last week after fleeing the cold for Cancun, Mexico.
  • Americans have been flying to Mexico during the pandemic thanks to cheap flights and lax entry requirements. 
  • A negative COVID-19 test is not required to enter Mexico but the CDC requires one to enter the US.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Ted Cruz made headlines last week when the junior senator from Texas was spotted flying to Cancun, Mexico, while his home state was battling a crippling winter storm. 

A quick weekend trip with family and friends quickly became a political scandal as Cruz had planned to stay abroad for multiple days instead of returning right back to Texas, where millions of his constituents struggled without power and water. The senator promptly changed his flight and returned home after being discovered. But Cruz was not the first American seeking to escape the harsh realities of daily life during the pandemic by traveling to Mexico, and he won’t be the last. 

US citizens flying south of the border for vacation has been a common practice since the early days of the health crisis, despite all the warnings against non-essential travel. 

One of the few countries open to Americans

The onset of the pandemic saw most nations take the drastic step of closing their borders to the world, with countless remaining closed today. As of late November, an Insider investigation found that less than 100 countries had reopened their borders to Americans and some had instituted strict parameters for travelers, including a negative COVID-19 test taken before departure and upon arrival.

But even as the US, Mexico, and Canada agreed to close their shared land borders to non-essential travel at the pandemic’s peak, a loophole continues to allow air travelers to cross both borders. Travelers arriving in Canada are faced with a quarantine and testing requirement while those bound for Mexico do not have to endure either, opening travel opportunities to the latter. 

For the most part, Americans never experienced a lack of air travel options to Mexico even as the pandemic shuttered countless global air links and the land border remained closed throughout. 

No COVID-19 testing required

Traveling to Mexico during the pandemic is actually easier than traveling between some American states. In New York, for example, most arriving travelers must produce a recent negative COVID-19 test to avoid the state’s mandatory quarantine, with National Guardsmen even patrolling some New York airports and stopping passengers at their arrival gate to ensure compliance. 

No such arrangement exists in Mexico, a country largely dependent on American tourism for revenue. Health screenings may be performed upon arrival in certain circumstances, according to the US Embassy in Mexico, but Americans need not produce a negative test as a prerequisite for entry into Mexico. 

Ryan Ewing, the founder and president of the aviation news website AirlineGeeks, traveled to Mexico twice during the pandemic with no issues getting in or out. 

“Mexico was a safe vacation spot for me,” Ewing, who flew to Mexico in July and December, told Insider. “Access was easy and straightforward with a small health form to fill out and no additional quarantine measures, unlike some U.S. states which require stringent testing measures.”

The US Embassy says the additional health checks may include a temperature screening and passengers showing symptoms may be required to quarantine. 

Cheap flights galore

Air travel has seen a drop in demand that rivals the worst economic periods in American history, leading to some seriously low prices for airfare. Those needing to take to the skies have likely been paying some of the lowest rates in their lifetime on normally expensive routes, especially those to Mexico. 

As Scott Keyes, founder of the flight deal website Scott’s Cheap Flights, noted on Twitter, a last-minute flight from Cancun to Houston on United, the same routing and airline as Cruz, could be had for as little as $101 on the day of the senator’s return.

With rates like that, it’s no surprise that Cruz found himself without a complimentary upgrade to business class as a United Airlines elite status holder. 

Airlines have been shifting their focus to leisure destinations and have often been dropping the price of tickets to encourage travel, even as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns against non-essential travel. Non-stop flights from New York to Cancun can be found for as low as $130 one-way and from Los Angeles as low as $106, at the time of writing. 

A breakdown of a similarly priced $102.11 fare from Cancun to Houston for February 22 on United shows the airline is only bringing in around $30 in airfare while the rest is taxes and fees that go to the US and Mexican governments. 

A United Airlines flight to Cancun, Mexico
A United Airlines flight to Cancun, Mexico.

What airlines lose in airfare, however, they hope to make up for by selling extras. The $102 basic economy fare doesn’t include items like checked baggage allowance, advance seat assignments, and other ancillary products that airlines want to sell as the revenue generated isn’t taxed. 

New CDC testing requirements force travelers to adjust plans

The CDC, however, began requiring proof of a negative COVID-19 test for entry into the US in late January to prevent the importation of the virus from abroad. Inbound arrivals, including American citizens, now need to show they tested negative for the virus within the three calendar days leading up to their US-bound flight. 

The requirement has affected airlines flying to international leisure destinations, including Mexico.

“The demand trends have not really changed much in most places, including overseas,” Andrew Nocella, United’s chief commercial officer, said in a recent earnings call in response to a question about the CDC’s order. “Where they have changed is in the Mexican beach resort destinations and certain Caribbean resort destinations.”

Some foreign resorts and hotels, as a result, now offer COVID-19 testing to help travelers easily secure a test in compliance with the new rules, as Insider’s Brittany Chang outlined in January

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United Airlines says it’s investigating the leak of Ted Cruz’s Cancun flight information

cruz airport police
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., checking into Cancun International Airport on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021.

  • United Airlines is investigating the leak of Ted Cruz’s Cancun flight data.
  • A company executive told Politico that whoever leaked it may be fired.
  • Cruz drew sharp backlash for flying to Cancun as a devastating winter storm ravaged Texas.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

United Airlines is investigating the leak of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s flight information for a trip to Cancun, Mexico earlier this week, Politico reported.

“It’s against United’s policies to share personal information about our customers and we are investigating this incident,” a company executive told Politico in a statement, adding that whoever leaked the information may be fired.

Cruz drew intense backlash this week for traveling to Cancun with his family while Texas was in the middle of a devastating blackout caused by a winter storm. As millions in the state lost power and were forced to live in freezing conditions without heat, water, or electricity, the senator left for Cancun with his family on Wednesday.

In an initial statement on Thursday, Cruz said he went on the trip because he wanted “to be a good dad” and added that he intended to return to the US that afternoon.

“With school cancelled for the week, our girls asked to take a trip with friends,” he said. “Wanting to be a good dad, I flew down with them last night and am flying back this afternoon.”

An editor at Thrifty Traveler tweeted out what appeared to be Cruz’s flight information showing that the senator planned to travel back Thursday afternoon. But Skift’s Edward Russell tweeted that he spoke to a source at United who said Cruz had only made the return booking around 6 a.m. ET on Thursday and was originally scheduled to come back on Saturday. NBC’s Peter Alexander also confirmed the schedule change.

A series of text messages that Cruz’s wife, Heidi, appears to have sent out also indicated that the family was planning for a longer getaway.

“Anyone can or want to leave for the week?” said one of the texts, which were obtained by Insider and other news outlets. “We may go to Cancun there is a direct flight at 445pm and hotels w capacity. Seriously.”

Another text appeared to show Heidi Cruz saying in the group chat, “the Ritz Carlton has rooms at like $300 and we’ve been there many times great property god security etc no issues.”

It continued: “I’ll confirm on the covid we need to call the hotel this am to confirm that but you just test when you arrive as needs to be 3days before return.”

At least 58 people have died as a result of the storm in areas stretching from Texas to Ohio, according to The New York Times. More than 14 million Texans were told to boil their water as of Friday after the storm took water treatment facilities offline, and President Joe Biden declared a major disaster in the state on Saturday, unlocking millions of dollars in federal funding to 77 counties.

Cruz has drawn harsh criticism from Democrats for leaving the state amid the power outage. Former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke, who challenged Cruz in the 2018 Senate midterm elections, ripped him for “vacationing in Cancun right now when people are literally freezing to death in the state that he was elected to represent and serve.”

New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez reiterated her demand that Cruz resign from office.

“If Sen. Cruz had resigned back in January after helping gin up a violent insurrection that killed several people, he could’ve taken his vacation in peace,” she said in a tweet. “Texans should continue to demand his resignation.”

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Hillary Clinton mocks Ted Cruz after he reportedly left his pet dog, Snowflake, behind amid Texas’ storm

cruz airport police
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., checking into Cancun International Airport on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021.

  • Hillary Clinton blasted Ted Cruz for reportedly leaving his dog behind amid a winter storm in Texas.
  • A picture taken by a journalist went viral after it showed the dog looking out from the family home.
  • “Don’t vote for anyone you wouldn’t trust with your dog,” Clinton tweeted on Friday.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton jabbed Republican Sen. Ted Cruz for his decision to travel to Cancun, Mexico, amid a catastrophic winter storm in Texas and allegedly leaving behind his pet dog, Snowflake.

“Don’t vote for anyone you wouldn’t trust with your dog,” Clinton tweeted on Friday after a picture of Snowflake looking out from Cruz’s dark family mansion went viral on social media.

The picture of the pooch was taken by Houston-based journalist Michael Hardy, who wrote an article in New York Magazine on Friday titled: “Ted Cruz Abandons Millions of Freezing Texans and His Poodle, Snowflake.” 

In the article, Hardy described driving down to the senator’s home in the River Oaks neighborhood to “check out” his “power situation” after Cruz claimed his family, like millions of others, were without heat and water.

Upon his arrival at the “dark and uninhabited” mansion, Hardy described hearing a bark before noticing a small, white dog looking out of the front door window. 

“As I approached to knock, a man stepped out of the Suburban parked in Cruz’s driveway. ‘Is this Senator Cruz’s house?’ I asked. He said it was, that Cruz wasn’t home, and identified himself as a security guard,” Hardy wrote, according to New York Magazine.

“When asked who was taking care of the dog, the guard volunteered that he was. Reassured of the dog’s well-being, I returned to my car,” Hardy added.

It was shortly after this conversation that the journalist took a picture of the dog and tweeted it out to his followers, writing: “Also, Ted appears to have left behind the family poodle.”

Hardy later added: “Just to clarify, this was taken around 1 pm central on Thursday. It’s possible Ted brought the poodle back from Cancun with him, or that a family member was staying behind to take care of the dog.”

 

Cruz left his home state as millions struggled with extreme winter conditions that resulted in severe food shortages, power loss, and a clean water crisis. At the time of writing, at least 47 people have died due to the freezing conditions, although this number is expected to be much higher, according to the Texas Tribune.

Upon realizing his mistake, the Texas Senator cut his trip short and flew back to Texas almost 24 hours after departing.

In an interview with reporters, he explained that he was only dropping off his daughters on a vacation with their friends because his family had “lost heat and water.” He also added that he had planned to return the following day.

“Look, it was obviously a mistake. In hindsight, I wouldn’t have done it. I was trying to be a dad,” Cruz said.

But several hours later, a text from Heidi Cruz’s group chat that was leaked to Insider (and confirmed by the New York Times) revealed that the family had been planning to escape Texas for several days and invited others to go along with them.

“Is everyone warm? That’s a must! We could all huddle in one house, [name’s] had heat,” Heidi wrote. “Anyone can or want to leave for the week? We may go to Cancun, there is a direct flight at 445pm and hotels with capacity. Seriously.”

United Airlines confirmed later that Cruz’s flight back to Houston was originally scheduled to return on Saturday, according to NBC News.

Cruz is not the first politician to have been embroiled in dog-related drama.

In 2007, Sen. Mit Romeny found himself the subject of negative media attention after it was reported that in 1983, he had traveled 12 hours to Canada with his Irish Setter, Seamus, strapped to the roof of the car in a kennel.

Romney’s dog reportedly had diarrhea during the trip, which was only noticed after Romney’s son saw brown liquid dripping down the back window. The senator, who was still a businessman at the time, had to hose the dog off and stuffed him back into the crate. 

This incident, condemned by PETA, was used to attack Romney in both his 2008 and the 2012 presidential elections.

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Ted Cruz traveled to Jamaica for July 4th last year, defying public health guidelines during the pandemic, report says

Ted Cruz
Cruz is facing criticism for flying to Cancun as his home state of Texas grapples with severe winter storms.

  • The Washington Post reported GOP Sen. Ted Cruz traveled to Jamaica for the Fourth of July last year.
  • CDC guidelines at the time recommended Americans avoid nonessential travel.
  • The Post report came as Cruz faces criticism for traveling to Cancun as Texas battles winter storms.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Sen. Ted Cruz traveled to Jamaica last year for the Fourth of July, despite public health recommendations to avoid unnecessary travel during the pandemic, The Washington Post reported.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines at the time recommended Americans avoid nonessential international travel due to the risk of coronavirus transmission.

Sources told The Post the Republican senator was visiting a friend from college.

Cruz’s office did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

The news came as Cruz is facing criticism for flying to Cancun for a luxury vacation as his home state of Texas grapples with severe winter storms.

The senator was spotted Wednesday flying from Houston to Cancun, before returning home the following day amid outrage. While speaking to reporters outside his home, Cruz expressed regret for the decision to go.

“It was obviously a mistake and in hindsight I wouldn’t have done it,” Cruz told reporters, saying that it wasn’t his intention to diminish “the suffering and hardship other Texans had experienced.”

The storms in Texas left millions without power or clean drinking water for days, though as of Thursday many households had had their power restored.

Cruz has previously criticised Democratic politicians for flouting COVID-19 guidelines that they themselves had promoted.

“Hypocrites. Complete and utter hypocrites,” Cruz tweeted in December, after Democratic officials were found to be breaking their own coronavirus restrictions.

He also chided Austin Mayor Steve Adler, referring to the Democrat taking a “private jet” to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

“And don’t forget @MayorAdler who took a private jet with eight people to Cabo and WHILE IN CABO recorded a video telling Austinites to ‘stay home if you can…this is not the time to relax,'” Cruz tweeted.

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