- Ted Cruz’s departure from Cancun on Thursday was earlier than originally planned.
- Cruz flew to Cancun on Wednesday, and initially intended on staying until Saturday.
- The senator flew home while facing criticism for leaving Texas during a deadly winter storm.
- Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.
GOP Sen. Ted Cruz was in Cancun, Mexico, for less than 24 hours before he abruptly changed his original plan to stay in the resort city until Saturday and rushed back to Texas.
After arriving back in Texas on Thursday, Cruz told reporters that the “plan had been to stay through the weekend,” but he changed his itinerary after seeing the “firestorm” brewing over the trip.
“When I arrived and saw the initial firestorm, what had started as second thoughts that I had as soon as we left grew even greater,” Cruz said.
Cruz conceded that the trip was “obviously a mistake,” stating that he had “second thoughts” almost as soon as he sat down on the plane. “I was trying to be a dad,” Cruz said.
“On the one hand, all of us who are parents have a responsibility to take care of our kids, take care of our families,” Cruz said. “But I also have a responsibility that I take very seriously of fighting for the state of Texas.”
—Andrew Solender (@AndrewSolender) February 19, 2021
Cruz faced an onslaught of criticism for leaving Texas on Wednesday as the state contends with a deadly winter storm that saw millions lose power. Early on Thursday morning, he reportedly contacted United Airlines and changed his flight from Saturday to Thursday afternoon. This development was first reported by Skift reporter Edward Russell.
Hours after the trip became national news, Cruz issued an initial statement responding to the developing scandal. The Texas Republican said that he went to Cancun at the behest of his daughters, and that he was trying to be a “good dad.”
“This has been an infuriating week for Texas,” Cruz said. “With school cancelled 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.”
—The Recount (@therecount) February 18, 2021
As he headed back to Texas on Thursday, Cruz at the Cancun airport told reporters that his daughters asked him on Wednesday if they could take a trip with friends to Cancun. Cruz said that he and his wife agreed, and he decided to accompany them.
“I flew down with them last night, dropped them off here, and now I’m headed back to Texas,” Cruz said, adding that “what’s happening in Texas is unacceptable.”
The Texas senator’s initial justification for the trip was been met with widespread skepticism and mockery, and critics accused him of throwing his daughters under the bus for the bad optics of taking a vacation with his state in crisis.
“Ted Cruz let Trump call his wife ugly and say his dad killed JFK, with no repercussions. Now he blames daughters for his abandonment of Texans during a deadly crisis,” tweeted Anthony Scaramucci, who was briefly White House communications director in the Trump administration. “Ted, you have no dignity, you are a disgrace and you will never be President, let alone Senator for much longer.”