Ted Cruz cuts his Cancun vacation short after leaving Texas in the cold

He also left his little dog?

With hundreds of thousands of Texans still without heat, power or clean water five days after a severe winter storm crippled the state’s power grid, Ted Cruz confirmed he took a flight with his family for Cancún on Wednesday. And it seems he also left his poodle Snowflake in the cold.

The backlash was so violent, however, that the Republican senator returned home on Thursday.

“With school canceled for the week, our girls have asked to take a trip with friends,” he said in a statement released Thursday afternoon. “Wanting to be a good dad, I went down with them last night and I’m coming back this afternoon.”

This contradicts earlier reports that this was a planned trip for the Cruz family, as well as some sources saying he was initially not expected to return home until Saturday.

Cruz added that he had been in “constant communication” with state and local leaders during his absence.

In a Thursday night interview with Houston’s KTRK-TV, Cruz conceded that he planned to spend the weekend in Mexico.

The New York Times also obtained group text messages from Cruz’s wife, Heidi, to friends and neighbors revealing plans for the rushed trip, inviting people to join them at the Ritz-Carlton in Cancun.

Footage that appeared to show the Republican senator on a flight to Mexico went viral on Wednesday night, with many critics accusing him of leaving his constituents out in the cold as he went on spring break.

Related: Beto O’Rourke blames Republican leaders for Texas blackouts: ‘We’re approaching a failed state’

Former MSNBC anchor David Schuster tweeted, “Cruz seems to believe he doesn’t have much to do in Texas for the millions of fellow Texans left without power or water and literally freezing.” He shared a post with a photo of Cruz on a plane, but it should be noted that it was unclear when this photo was taken, or where Cruz was flying to at the time.

But Keith Edwards, a former campaign adviser to Democratic Sen. Jon Ossoff, also tweeted late Wednesday that several people were messaging him on Twitter TWTR,
with photos confirming that Cruz was on their flight Wednesday from Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport to Cancun.

Fox News also reported Wednesday that the senator flew to Cancun with his family amid the Texas electricity crisis, citing a Republican source.

And The Associated Press reported Thursday morning that Cruz had indeed crossed the border for what was called a long-planned family vacation, apparently at odds with text messages between neighbors, but he was now expected to return immediately.

What else, a reporter from New York Magazine who dropped by Cruz’s Houston home on Thursday discovered the family had left their pup Snowflake in the care of a security guard. His images of the little white dog coming out of the front door angered people even more.

The situation was also discussed during Thursday’s press briefing at the White House. “I don’t have any updates on the exact whereabouts of Sen. Ted Cruz, or anyone in the White House,” press secretary Jen Psaki said, “but our goal is to work directly with Texas leaders. and surrounding states to address the winter storm and the current crisis.

Representatives for Cruz were not immediately available for comment to confirm the senator’s whereabouts on Thursday. But tweets alleging Cruz flew to Mexico as his constituents froze at home galvanized many Twitter users, leading “Cancún” becomes the most trending topic on the social media site in the United States on Thursday morning.

His supporters argued that there was nothing Cruz himself could do about the Lone Star State’s power grid anyway, so they didn’t see the problem with his leaving the state at this point. that time. Conservative media personality Dinesh D’Souza, recipient of a Trump pardon of a campaign finance convictionsuggested Cruz earned the gratitude of the Texans for removing his family’s energy demand from the power grid.

Cruz’s disappearing act came just days after he tweeted “I have no defense” about the current crisis in Texas.

“A blizzard hits Texas and our state comes to a standstill,” he wrote. “Not good. Be careful!”

Three million Texans were without power Wednesday, meaning many were also without heat as temperatures dipped below freezing for days. Texas officials have ordered about a quarter of the population, or 7 million people, to boil tap water before drinking it after damaged infrastructure and frozen pipes contaminated drinking water.

Related: Rick Perry says Texans would rather go without electricity than give the feds more power over them

The number of Texans in the dark has fallen to just under half a million Thursday morning. The extreme winter weather has been blamed for killing more than 30 people across the country this week, including some who struggled to keep warm inside their homes. They include a Houston-area family who succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning from carbon monoxide from car exhaust in their garage.

This article has been updated with Senator Cruz’s statement and reports that he left his dog behind.

Gerald R. Schneider