Is Sen Cruz wrong going to Cancun during TX power outages?


Fact Box

  • Ted Cruz has been senator of Texas since 2013, briefly pausing his term to run for president in 2015, and after endorsing Trump for the election, returned to the senate. He is known for his passion for “limited government, economic growth, and the Constitution.”
  • After the power grid failed in Texas, around 4.4 million people were without power on Tuesday, February 16. As of Thursday, under 500,000 buildings were in the same conditions. 
  • The state of Texas has its own power grid alternative to the US’s eastern and western grids. In 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt initiated the Federal Power Act which regulated electricity sales, but Texas made a point that their utilities would stay separated by state, creating an “electrical island.”
  • Senator Cruz took his family on a short trip to Cancun amid the freezing temperatures in his home state. His actions were heavily criticized. He responded saying, “He wanted to be a good dad, and that he [and his staff members] are in constant communication to get to the bottom of what happened in Texas.”

Andrew (Yes)

Through his trip to Cancun, Senator Cruz demonstrated that he doesn't understand the value of real leadership. Genuine leaders stay in place during emergencies; Cruz thought a few days at the beach would be a better way to handle his state's crisis. In his statement, Cruz said, 'My staff and I are in constant communication with state and local leaders to get to the bottom of what happened…' While that is a nice sentiment, we all have found how difficult remote communications can be. It takes time to connect calls, which can have quality issues and nuance lost in conversation. These communication problems could potentially be greater in this crisis as Texas has reported wide-scale power outages. In light of these problems, Senator Cruz should have stayed home to help out.

Many of Senator Cruz's defenders will point to the fact that he is a Senator, working at the national level to advance the Texan agenda and that his role is not to work on local crises. Senator Cruz has access to enormous resources and can reach people in an official capacity. It is his duty to stay back and help the residents of his state. Cruz could model his leadership on the actions of former representative Beto O'Rourke, who organized phone banks to call vulnerable citizens, tweeted helpful resources, and sent out emails to many.

Finally, Senator Cruz's actions will come across as hypocritical after he attempted to blame Democratic leaders in California for their state's blackouts during the previous summer. Considering that the Texas blackouts were far worse than those in California, Senator Cruz should have stayed home.

Bill (No)

The faux outrage about Sen. Cruz taking a family vacation to Cancun during Texas power outages is merely the latest example of Democrat virtue-signaling to demagogue a regrettable, weather-related calamity. Senator Cruz holds a key Republican Senate seat that the Democrats hope to flip in 2024. It's clear they've seized on an opportunity to paint Cruz as an unfeeling, out-of-touch elitist who leaves his fellow Texans to enjoy some fun in the sun while they endure sub-freezing temperatures and power outages. As a result of the negative media coverage and the relentless and opportunistic attacks from political opponents, Cruz flew back from Texas after spending only one night in Mexico.

The reality is that the handling of the Texas power outages and the emergency response does not fall to Senator Cruz. Restoring the downed power grids and providing aid and assistance to affected Texans is the responsibility of the electric utility providers and the Texas Division of Emergency Management. The troubling takeaway from the unfortunate weather event that caused the winter disaster in Texas is that the Democrats and their handmaidens in the media are well aware that Cruz was powerless to alleviate the impact of the storm's wrath. Yet, they still pushed a narrative that cast Cruz as unworthy to hold his Senate seat in a cynical attempt to score some cheap political points.

Senator Cruz is entitled to have a private life, including taking his family on vacation. Ironically, Cruz will get no credit for flying back early and sacrificing time away with his family. It's a sad commentary on our current hyper-politicized environment fueled by our shameless media.

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