Ted Cruz contradicted Sean Hannity on Thursday night by admitting he planned to stay in Cancun ‘through the weekend’ even as the Fox News host tried to claim the Texas senator flew for a ‘round-trip quick drop-off home.’
Cruz appeared on Hannity’s nightly primetime Fox News show in an attempt to defuse the firestorm of criticism being aimed at the Republican senator after he was photographed taking a flight for a weekend vacation to Mexico on Wednesday.
He landed back in Houston on Thursday afternoon and said he ‘regrets’ flying to Cancun in the middle of the state’s energy crisis for a vacation – but insisted he was ‘just trying to be a dad’. Cruz was initially due to return to Texas on Saturday.
‘It was obviously a mistake and in hindsight I wouldn’t have done it,’ he said, speaking on arrival at home in Houston.
Ted Cruz contradicted Sean Hannity on Thursday night by admitting he planned to stay in Cancun ‘through the weekend’ even as the Fox News host tried to claim the Texas senator flew for a ‘round-trip quick drop-off home’
Cruz is seen checking into his return flight home to Texas at Cancun International Airport in Cancun, Mexico on Thursday. He told Hannity that he initially planned to return on Saturday
The trip ignited outrage given that Cruz’s home state, Texas, was hit with a massive winter storm and days of below-freezing temperatures that have left dozens dead and millions without power, heat, or water.
Hannity offered up a sympathetic explanation for Cruz’s trip, saying that he knew the senator was taking the blackouts in Texas ‘seriously’ and was working ‘hand-in-hand’ with Governor Greg Abbott to address the crisis.
The Fox News host suggested that Cruz was simply being a good father by escorting his daughters to the Mexican vacation spot.
‘You went and you took your daughters to Cancun and you came back,’ Hannity said.
‘I think you can be a father and be the senator of Texas all at the same time and make a round-trip quick drop-off trip and come home.’
Cruz nodded in agreement and said: ‘Well, Sean, that’s right.’
The senator agreed with Hannity’s statements that he had been monitoring the inclement weather conditions before they caused the major outages in Texas.
‘This week has been hell for the state of Texas,’ Cruz told Hannity. ‘It has been two storms on top of each other.’
Cruz said that he and Texas’ other senator, John Cornyn, urged President Biden to declare Texas a federal disaster area.
He added that he and his wife, Heidi, also lost power and heat in their Houston area home.
What Cruz told Hannity
We lost power for two days, we lost power, we had no heat.
We were huddled around the fireplace behind me because it was the only heat in the house.
After a couple of days, with it being really cold and the teens outside, my girls said school’s been cancelled, can we take a trip and go somewhere warm.
And Heidi and I, as parents, we said OK, sure.
So last night I flew down with them to the beach. And I flew back this afternoon.
I had initially planned to stay through the weekend and work remotely there.
As I was heading down I started to have second thoughts almost immediately.
Because the crisis here in Texas you need to be on the ground, because as much as you can do by phone and Zoom, it’s not the same.
So I returned this afternoon and I’m here working to do everything we can to get the power turned on.
Eventually, Cruz talked about his weekend trip to Cancun, effectively contradicting Hannity’s claim that the senator was making a quick round-trip.
Cruz said: ‘So last night I flew down with [my daughters] to the beach and then I flew back this afternoon.
‘I had initially planned to stay through the weekend.
‘But as I was heading down there, you know, I started to have second thoughts almost immediately because the crisis here in Texas, you need to be here on the ground.
‘As much as you can do by phone and Zoom, it’s not the same as being here.’
He said they had begged to leave their Houston home, telling Hannity on Thursday night: ‘My girls said school’s been cancelled, can we take a trip and go somewhere warm.
‘And Heidi and I, as parents, we said OK, sure.’
On Thursday night, Cruz doubled down on the excuse, telling ABC 13 during an interview at his Houston home: ‘They said, ‘Look, lets take a trip. Lets go with some of our friends and lets get out of here and lets go somewhere warm.
‘And Heidi and I said … lets go.’
Asked directly what he was thinking, Cruz replied: ‘You question what I was thinking, and … I was trying to take care of my family.
‘I was trying to take care of my kids. It’s unfortunate, the fire storm that came from it. It was not my intention. In saying yes to my daughters to somehow diminish all the Texans that were going through real hardship.’
It was later reported that Heidi Cruz texted friends back home in Texas from her Mexican beach resort – urging them to follow their lead and escape the ‘FREEZING’ weather in a trip motivated by escaping the cold rather than appease their traumatized daughters.
The New York Times first reported the text messages, citing a person in the group and the original sender, who confirmed their authenticity.
‘Anyone can or want to leave for the week? she asked her friends, in text messages obtained by American Bridge.
‘We may go to Cancun there is a direct flight at 445pm and hotels w capacity.’
She then sent round the details of their flights to friends, confirming they were leaving on United flight 1020 on Wednesday, and returning on Sunday at 4:45pm, landing in Houston at 6:15pm.
‘Ritz Carlton $309 plus tax,’ she said.
She asked their friends: ‘Are you guys warm enough? We have a fireplace! Let us know. Our house is FREEZING tho… we couldn’t stand it anymore.’
Their daughters, 10 and 12, were never referenced in the partial exchange.
Protesters at Houston airport held out signs as he landed on Thursday that read: ’24 dead’. Others gathered outside his home to show their anger at his jaunt.
They yelled: ‘Resign!’ as he spoke to local media outside his Colonial Revival home.
He also claimed that the girls asked him ‘yesterday’ if they could go away, and he and Heidi ‘agreed’. Within hours they were all on the plane.
Temperatures plummeted to as low as -2F in Texas this week and snow and ice has blanketed much of the state. It has been 85 F and sunny in Cancun all week by contrast.
Ted Cruz, speaking at home in Texas on Thursday afternoon, admitted he made a mistake in flying to Cancun amid the storms
The Ritz Carlton in Cancun where the Cruzes are staying, paying $309 a night at the luxury ocean-front hotel
Cruz was slammed for both the trip and for seeming to blame it on his kids once people started criticizing him for it.
Before he released his statement, sources told Fox and The New York Times that the trip was pre-planned.
He was also carrying a large carry-on which suggested he planned to stay for longer than just one night.
He later admitted he intended to stay ‘throughout the weekend’.
Heidi Cruz’s texts said she planned on returning to Houston on Sunday evening, landing back in the Texan city at 6pm after a four night break at the luxury Mexican beach resort.
Before flying on Wednesday, Cruz requested a police escort through Houston airport, before his flight to Cancun at around 4pm.
He was pictured at the United Airlines lounge, at the gate and on the plane before take-off.
He was also on the standby list for an upgrade to business class but didn’t get it.
His wife Heidi’s name wasn’t on the list for an upgrade.
The family was planning on staying in a resort they’ve visited before, sources said, though it’s unclear which exactly.
Ted Cruz was seen on the plane flying home from Cancun to Houston after his one-night trip
Cruz, in footage obtained by CNN, is seen descending an escalator on arrival at Houston airport, after his Cancun trip
Cruz was guarded by at least two police officers (pictured) as he arrived home to Texas following his trip
Last year, they stayed at the Nizuc Resort & Spa in Cancun where rooms are $480-a-night.
Cruz was due to return on Saturday, but as criticism of the trip exploded on Thursday morning, with many furious Texans demanding to know why he hadn’t stayed behind to help in the crisis, he changed his plans.
He was on the list for a business class upgrade on one of the afternoon flights out of Cancun on Thursday afternoon.
To re-enter the US from a foreign country, all passengers must first test negative for COVID-19 by law.
They’re then advised by the CDC to obtain a negative COVID test again, three to five days after they return, and quarantine for a full seven days after they return. Texas has no quarantine laws for entering from another country or state.
According to ABC, his office contacted the Houston Police Department staff at the airport and ‘requested assistance’ on Wednesday before his outbound flight.
‘HPD officers monitored his movements through the terminal,’ a spokesman for the force said.
The situation in Texas is so bad that people are being told to boil water before drinking to reduce any possible contaminants due to a failure in water pressure and plants.
Many can’t because they don’t have the power to do it.
A protester, Mary Kay Hoffman, waited for Ted Cruz at Houston airport with a sign reminding him of the death toll from storms
Protesters waited for Cruz outside his home on Thursday afternoon as he arrived home, less than 24 hours after leaving
Cruz released statement on Thursday claiming he was just escorting his wife and daughters to Texas, that the trip was last minute and that they’d also lost power. United sources said he changed his flight at 6am on Thursday amid a swell of criticism
CRUZ’S CONFLICTING COMMENTS
MONDAY ‘Thankfully, my home, we didn’t lose power.
‘If you can stay home, don’t go out on the roads, don’t risk the ice. …
‘Don’t risk it. Keep your family safe, and just stay home and hug your kids.’
THURSDAY MORNING, IN A STATEMENT: ‘Like millions of Texans, our family lost heat and power too.
‘With school canceled for the week, our girls asked to take a trip with friends. Wanting to be a good dad, I flew down with them last night and am flying back this afternoon.’
THURSDAY AFTERNOON, TO KTRT: ‘It was obviously a mistake and in hindsight I wouldn’t have done it.
‘I was trying to be a dad.
‘And all of us have made decisions – when you’ve got two girls who have been cold for two days, and haven’t had heat or power, and they are saying: ‘Look, we don’t have school, why don’t we go, let’s get out of here.”
THURSDAY EVENING, TO HANNITY:
‘We lost power for two days, we lost power, we had no heat.
‘We were huddled around the fireplace behind me because it was the only heat in the house.
‘After a couple of days, with it being really cold and the teens outside, my girls said school’s been cancelled, can we take a trip and go somewhere warm.
‘And Heidi and I, as parents, we said OK, sure.
‘So last night I flew down with them to the beach. And I flew back this afternoon.
‘I had initially planned to stay through the weekend and work remotely there.
‘As I was heading down I started to have second thoughts almost immediately.
‘Because the crisis here in Texas you need to be on the ground, because as much as you can do by phone and Zoom, it’s not the same.
‘So I returned this afternoon and I’m here working to do everything we can to get the power turned on.’
Cruz on Monday said that his home hadn’t lost power, and that he and his wife had welcomed in their children’s friends who weren’t as lucky.
‘Thankfully, my home, we didn’t lose power.
‘So right now we’ve got a bunch of the neighborhood kids all over playing with our girls, because their parents lost power and our house was lucky.
‘So we’ve got kids running up and down the stairs right now,’ he told radio host Joe Paglialuro on Monday.
He went on: ‘If you can stay home, don’t go out on the roads, don’t risk the ice… Don’t risk it.
‘Keep your family safe, and just stay home and hug your kids.’
On top of outrage over Cruz’s trip, he was also mocked and compared to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie who closed all of the state’s public beaches in 2017 during a government shutdown over a budget standoff, then took his family to the beach.
People have abandoned their frozen homes in Texas to seek warmth in shelters across the state.
On Thursday morning, the Mayor of Galveston said the ‘human suffering’ he was witnessing was ‘very concerning’ and that the situation was worse than any hurricane the state has experienced because it’s affecting the whole state and not just the coast.
Cruz was shown on the list of passengers waiting for an upgrade from coach to business on Wednesday night, under his given name Rafael Edward Cruz.
He was inundated with criticism from people who called him ‘morally bankrupt’.
An unnamed Republican source confirmed to FOX News that it was Cruz at the airport.
‘The photos speak for themselves,’ they said.
He had earlier been forced to admit he had ‘no defense’ after an August 2020 tweet mocking power outages in California resurfaced.
Cruz tweeted Wednesday: ‘I got no defense. A blizzard strikes Texas & our state shuts down. Not good. Stay safe!’
He had said: ‘California is now unable to perform even basic functions of civilization, like having reliable electricity.
‘Biden/Harris/AOC want to make CA’s failed energy policy the standard nationwide. Hope you don’t like air conditioning!’
After images of Cruz at the airport surfaced online Sawyer Hackett, senior advisor and communications for Mayor of San Antonio Julian Castro tweeted: ‘It appears in the middle of the worst energy crisis in the history of Texas, @tedcruz is on his way to Cancun with his family.’
Beto O’Rourke was among those who criticized him.
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz speaks to the media at the Cancun International Airport before boarding his plane back to the U.S., in Cancun, Mexico February 18, 2021. He was wearing a Texas mask and spoke briefly to Telemundo, a local station, amid uproar over his planned vacation during the worst energy crisis Texas has ever seen
The interior of the Ritz Carlton in Cancun, Mexico, where the Texas Senator spent one night before returning to his state amid widespread outrage
‘Cruz seems to believe there isn’t much for him to do in Texas for the millions of fellow Texans who remain without electricity/water and are literally freezing,’ he tweeted on Wednesday night.
Hackett later called for Cruz to ‘resign or be expelled immediately’.
Twitter user Elsa Ramon posted: ‘My 73-yo dad lives in Austin and is sleeping in full winter camping gear.
He sits in his running truck with the heater on during the day for warmth, @tedcruz.
‘Enjoy Cancun, you morally bankrupt piece of s***.’