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Texas Senator Ted Cruz was pictured on Saturday handing out bottled water to residents who are experiencing a shortage due to the winter storm, but the moment was criticised as a “photo op” for the Republican.
Mr Cruz shared the pictures on his Twitter account while writing “#TexasStrong”. In the pictures, he was seen loading packages of bottled water into residents’ vehicles. But he did not reveal where the pictures were taken.
It comes after the senator was heavily criticised for travelling to Cancun, Mexico, on Wednesday with his family as many Texans were without electricity and running water.
Following the backlash, Mr Cruz travelled back to Texas on Thursday afternoon and admitted that the trip was a “mistake”.
“It was obviously a mistake, and in hindsight I wouldn’t have done it,” he told reporters.
Likely in an effort to redeem himself in the eyes of voters, Mr Cruz then decided to assist residents by handing out water to them.
Millions of Texans were currently facing a food and water shortage due to the winter storm that brought frigid temperatures and snow to the state. The freezing temperatures burst pipes and low water pressure has made the tap water unsafe to drink for some residents.
Mr Cruz faced criticism for the pictures he shared because many residents saw them as staged instead of genuine effort for him to help his constituents.
“First you abandon your constituents, now they are crisis photo opps to you? Do you have any shame at all @tedcruz?” One person tweeted.
Another person wrote: “I’m glad someone in Ted Cruz’s Senate office finally instructed him on how to fake compassion, humanity, and creating the illusion that he cares about the people he was elected to serve.”
Other people pointed out Covid-19 guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which tells Americans to receive a test three to five days after travelling and self-quarantine for at least seven days to avoid spreading the novel virus.
New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat, was also in Texas on Saturday assisting with the crisis. She helped raise more than $4million for Texans for disaster relief and also visited a food bank in Houston, Texas.
“When disaster strikes, this is not just an issue for Texans; this is an issue for our entire country,” Ms Ocasio-Cortez told reporters. “And our whole country needs to come and rally together behind the needs of Texans all across this state.”
She added: “That’s the New York spirit, that’s the Texas spirit, and that’s the American spirit.”
Ms Ocasio-Cortez reaction to the crisis, given it happened in a state she does not represent, has sparked people comparing her against Mr Cruz, given he decided to leave his state during the winter storm.