This is a rhetorical question. Of course it’s the perfect time to feature this delightful (and layered) cartoon by illustrator Billy Leake that I’ve been saving for just such a moment. And I suspect cartoonists are hard at work today parodying Senator Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) escape to an all-inclusive Mexican resort while his constituents freeze and starve back home — which I’ll dutifully collect in my usual weekend roundup of the week’s political cartoons.
I also want to give a shout out to Fox News for being the first (as far as I can tell) media outlet to confirm via an anonymous source the Twitter rumors of Cruz’s Cancun escape that first appeared on social media when he and his family boarded their flight last night.
Here’s a quick recap of the #CancunCruz scandal …
Currently Texas and parts of the Southern and Coastal Plains still lay battered by this week’s massive snow and ice storm that has left millions without power, heat and water and killed at least 23 so far. Deaths occurred from highway accidents, carbon monoxide poisoning from running cars and generators indoors to stay warm, house fires sparked by candle usage, and a few from exposure to the coldest temperatures seen there in more than 30 years. While warming centers have been made available, many Texans have been stranded on uncleared roadways (Texas doesn’t have snow plows), and those who have been able to reach grocery stores see heartbreakingly long lines and empty shelves.
The Biden administration is sending emergency generators, fuel, water and blankets, but a break in the weather and fully restored power isn’t expected until possibly this weekend.
THIS is the backdrop to which Ted Cruz thought it was a good idea to take his family on a vacation to the balmy resort of Cancun, Mexico.
At about 5 p.m. Wednesday night amateur airport Paparazzi photographed a masked man looking very much like Cruz in a Houston United Airlines check-in line, in an executive lounge, in an airplane seat etc. Sleuths who shared the same flight confirmed seeing Cruz’s name on a monitor showing a standby list of passengers. All evidence was posted to Twitter for more sleuths to weigh in on matching hair cuts, wedding ring, tennis shoes and unique political mask the real Ted Cruz and this possible Ted Cruz did or didn’t share. By this morning most on social media concluded this was the Ted Cruz who’d skipped out on his hobbled state to catch some rays and very bad optics. The Fox story confirmation was icing on the cake.
In addition to throwing shade and snowballs at the Senator, Twitter users pointed out what their favorite Texan son Beto O’Rourke was doing instead. O’Rourke, a democrat who lost the Senate seat to Cruz two years ago by just 2%, had set up a volunteer calling tree to reach senior citizens impacted by the storm. One of the volunteers reached a man stranded without power who hadn’t eaten in two days, who was then taken to a warming center and given a hot meal.
Cruz, who is eyeing another presidential run in 2024, is confoundingly unaware or uninterested in the optics of his behavior. Most recently this includes pushing The Big Lie about election fraud and inciting the January 6 Capitol Riot by being one of just two Senators to oppose the certification of presidential electors.
A 2024 political ad featuring a masked Cruz in tourist attire wheeling luggage in a split screen showing his freezing constituents lined up for food and trying to stay warm by their hobo fires will be a campaign highlight.
After receiving so much heckling, including calls (new ones) for his resignation, Cruz’s office issued a statement this afternoon saying he would be cutting his family vacation short and returning to Texas later today. Without mentioning why he was returning nor acknowledging the uproar he caused, Cruz blamed the excursion on his daughters wanting to take a vacation.
“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,” Cruz said.
Not noted in the statement is why Cruz flew with his daughters to Mexico, which the Centers for Disease Control has listed as a Level 4, it’s highest level of warning, for international travel during the Pandemic. Cruz’s statement also did not discuss any Covid-19 testing before or after his less-than-24-hour trip.
Cruz also appeared to lie in his statement by claiming his Houston home had lost heat and power from the storm. But in a radio interview Cruz gave Tuesday, he said he was “lucky” his home hadn’t lost power like some of his neighbors did.
Cruz’s statement did open with one truth, however, when he said, “This has been an infuriating week for Texans.”
That’s right Senator, you apparently have no idea about your contribution here. Maybe Twitter can explain …