Ted Cruz has been criticized for traveling to Mexico with his family while Winter Storm Uri struck Texas, leaving millions without power, water, heat and electricity

By Eric Todisco
February 21, 2021 01:30 PM
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Sen. Ted Cruz handed out water to residents in Texas over the weekend after he received backlash for his decision to vacation in Cancún, Mexico, with his family as the state battled snowstorms.

Cruz, 50, shared a series of photos on Instagram and Twitter Saturday that featured the Republican politician loading cases of water bottles into cars. Millions of Texas residents are still suffering without electricity, heat, clear water and food due to winter storm Uri.

Cruz, who wore a mask in the photos, could also be seen greeting on Texas resident in one of the photos. "#Texasstrong," he captioned the series of photos.

Ted Cruz
| Credit: Ted Cruz/Instagram

Many on social media made comments about Cruz's photo-op, calling it "staged" and a display of "fake compassion" amid his efforts to rebuild his reputation.

According to a new Politico report, St. John's School, which is attended by Cruz's daughters Caroline, 12, and Catherine, 10, recently enacted a rule that any students who travel internationally must quarantine for seven to ten days upon their return.

The rules, pegged to CDC guidelines, were sent to parents on Jan. 30.

A spokesman for Cruz told the outlet that the senator's "daughters plan to follow the St. John's policy."

A spokesperson for Cruz's office did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

Sen. Ted Cruz
| Credit: Jonathan Newton-Pool/Getty

Cruz's decision to travel south of the border during the winter storms was spoofed on the latest episode of Saturday Night Live. The NBC show kicked off the Regé-Jean Page-hosted episode with a cold open that poked fun at the senator, portrayed by SNL star Aidy Bryant.

"Now I'm in a little bit of hot water, which I'm told is a thing no one in Texas has," Bryant's Cruz joked to cast member Chloe Fineman's Britney Spears, Pete Davidson's Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Cecily Strong's Gina Carano.

Then, in a Weekend Update skit, Colin Jost and Michael Che kept the jokes coming about the Texas senator. "If you hate Ted Cruz, this was a pretty fun week," said Jost. "And if you like Ted Cruz, then you're Ted Cruz."

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On Thursday, Cruz addressed his decision to go to Mexico after he arrived home to find protesters outside his house, as captured in video by the Recount.

"Whether the decision to go was tone-deaf — look, it was obviously a mistake," he said. "In hindsight, I wouldn't've done it."

"I was trying to be a dad," Cruz said. In video footage of the senator speaking to reporters, protesters can be heard chanting for his resignation in the background.

After more than 12 hours of silence from Cruz and his aides as to his whereabouts when he was first spotted with his family at a Houston airport on Wednesday night, the senator's initial statements seemed to suggest that the international trip had been pre-planned.

But text messages obtained by the New York Times showed that Cruz's trip was hastily put together after two days without power because of the winter storm ravaging Texas.

According to the Times' report, Cruz's wife Heidi texted friends and neighbors asking if they'd like to join the family on a quick trip to Cancún for the rest of the week to get out of the "FREEZING" house.

"Anyone can or want to leave for the week?" she said, according to the Times. "We may go to Cancún," she wrote, later adding, "seriously."

No one on the text thread opted to join, the Times reported.