US senator Ted Cruz is back in the US after going viral for taking a vacation with his family to Mexico on Wednesday, even as brutal winter weather left hundreds of thousands of his fellow Texans without steady electricity, heat, or running water.
On Thursday Mr Cruz admitted the decision was a “mistake,” but said he was just trying to be a good father and rescue his kids from the state’s power outages and bitter cold.
“Whether the decision to go was tone deaf, look, it was obviously a mistake,” Mr Cruz told reporters, as protesters chanted, “Resign!” in the background. “In hindsight, I wouldn’t have done it. I was trying to be a dad.”
The Texas Republican explained that like millions in the Lone Star State, his house hadn’t had heat or power for days, though unlike most, Senator Cruz had the time and resources to take them on a trip to the $309-a-night Ritz-Carlton in Cancún.
More than a million people across the state have been warned to boil their tap water, as downed electrical grids and frozen pipes have compromised parts of the water treatment system. Some, lacking the power or natural gas to boil their water, are effectively cut off altogether.
“All of us have decisions,” Mr Cruz went on. “When you’ve got two girls who have been cold for two days and haven’t had heat or power, and they’re saying, ‘Hey look, we don’t have school. Why don’t we go? Let’s get out of here.’”
Mr Cruz, who arrived at the airport with a large suitcase on Wednesday, was reportedly set to stay through Saturday in Mexico until the trip turned into a scandal and he flew back to the US on Thursday. Sources close to Cruz have said he intended to come right back all along.
The decision to take the trip outraged officials across Texas, some of whom called for Mr Cruz’s resignation, but the GOP senator insisted he had been doing his best to support relief efforts throughout.
“My staff and I are in constant communication with state and local leaders to get to the bottom of what happened in Texas,” Mr Cruz said in a statement on Thursday.
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