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Democrats in Texas are calling for Sen. Ted Cruz’s resignation after photos surfaced on Twitter appearing to show the Republican on a flight en route to Cancun while millions of Texans are suffering amid prolonged power outages due to a snow storm.
In a tweet on Wednesday night, journalist David Shuster—whose credits include anchoring for MSNBC and Al Jazeera America—said he had confirmed that Cruz and his family had flown to Cancun that night “for a few days at a resort” they’ve previously visited in the past.
Early Thursday, Shuster added that his confirmation came from several eyewitnesses of Ted and Heidi Cruz in Cancun. And in a separate report on Thursday, the Associated Press —citing a source with “direct knowledge”—also confirmed the trip.
Per the Washington Post, Cruz was said to have also been spotted in the Houston airport as he prepped to board a United Airlines flight from Texas that was set to stop in Fort Lauderdale before continuing service to the Mexican resort city. At the time of this writing, Cruz’s team had not issued a statement in response to the ongoing controversy, which has seen widespread criticism directed at the Trump-supporting Republican due to both the aforementioned snow event and the fact that we are still very much in the middle of a pandemic.
In a tweeted message also shared on Wednesday night, the official account of the Texas Democratic Party urged Cruz to resign.
“Texans are dying and you’re on a flight to Cancun,” Dems said, later telling voters that “character is on the ballot in 2022 and 2024.”
Cruz, per an update from NBC News and MSNBC political analyst Jake Sherman, returned to Texas at some point on Thursday:
The New York Times reports that Cruz’s staff contacted the Houston Police Department requesting “assistance upon arrival” for the Senator. On Thursday afternoon, Cruz released a statement saying he was simply escorting his children to Cancun and had always planned on flying back the following day.
Another report from NYT detailed text messages sent from Ted Cruz’s wife, Heidi, to friends and neighbors about the “hastily planned trip,” according to the publication. It included an invitation to join the Cruz family at the Ritz-Carlton in Cancún for a trip that would last until Sunday, where the family had stayed “many times.” The texts also noted the room price ($309/night) and the hotel’s security.
Cruz, while later speaking to reporters, said his decision to go to Cancun was “obviously a mistake.”
Meanwhile, fellow Texan Beto O’Rourke—who was narrowly defeated by Cruz in a Senate race in 2018—offered a hand to those in need by holding a virtual event in which he and a number of supporters made more than 151,000 calls to senior citizens in the state. The project, dubbed the Texas Welfare Check Phone Bank, was conducted via Zoom and lasted for eight hours. Another edition of the event is set for Thursday.