Senator Ted Cruz fleeing his home state of Texas in the middle of a catastrophic winter storm that has left millions without power, water, or heat for a weekend getaway to Cancun is one of those actions that is so egregious it’s hard to imagine how anyone could defend it. And yet, a few brave souls in conservative media are doing the best they can.
First out of the gate was right-wing pundit Erick Erickson, who tweeted early Thursday morning: “The fact that people think Ted Cruz, a United States Senator, can do anything about a state power grid, even his own, is rather demonstrative of the ignorance of so many people who cover politics. They’d rather performative drama than substance.”
Conservative radio host Ben Shapiro, meanwhile, at least admitted the trip could be considered “bad optics” but similarly defended the senator by claiming that anything Cruz would have done to help Texans would have been merely “performative” and nothing else. “It’s not a real-time crisis that Ted Cruz, the senator from Texas, can do anything about,” he said. “Do they expect Ted to go there with, like, a blowtorch and start defrosting all of the pipelines?”
Ben Shapiro: "It's not a real time crisis that Ted Cruz, the senator from Texas, can do anything about...Do they expect Ted to go there with, like, a blowtorch and start defrosting all of the pipelines?" pic.twitter.com/Y36OWJLsXz
— Jason Campbell (@JasonSCampbell) February 18, 2021
Then there was the Trump-pardoned Dinesh D’Souza, who took things a step further by suggesting that Cruz was actually helping his constituents by flying off to Mexico.
“What could @tedcruz do if he were here in Texas?” he asked. “I’m hard-pressed to say. If he’s in Cancun, that means he’s not using up valuable resources of energy, food and water that can now be used by someone else. This is probably the best thing he could do for the state right now.”
Of course, all of these laughable responses came before Cruz released a statement that essentially blamed his two young daughters for the entire ordeal.
“With school canceled for the week, our girls asked to take a trip with friends,” the senator said. “Wanting to be a good dad, I flew down with them last night and am flying back this afternoon.” He later added to reporters at the Cancun airport, “Yesterday my daughters asked if they could take a trip with some friends and Heidi and I agreed, so I flew down with them last night, dropped them off here, and now I’m headed back to Texas and back to continuing to work to try to get the power on.”
This was all Fox News host Sean Hannity needed to hear, telling listeners to his radio show Thursday afternoon: “By the way, Ted Cruz only escorted his daughter on a trip to Cancun as a father. You can be a father and a senator at the same time, and he's turning around and coming right back to Texas. Good grief.”
But the idea that Cruz was merely “escorting” his daughters to Mexico has already been debunked, with NBC News’ Peter Alexander reporting that Cruz was originally scheduled to stay on vacation until Saturday and only rebooked his return ticket on Thursday morning after the scandal broke.