Dave Whamond renders the art of political perceptions for a living. So when he saw Wednesday that Sen. Ted Cruz and his family had taken off for Cancun — leaving millions of the politician’s constituents facing the deadly storm crisis back in Texas — he did a double-take.

“How could he not see how bad the optics would be?” asks Whamond, a Canadian artist syndicated by Cagle Cartoons. “Not just traveling during a pandemic, but leaving his home state in a time of extreme crisis?”

Cruz returned from Mexico early Thursday as the backlash grew over his getaway, which he admitted was “a mistake.” On social media, the politician was soon nicknamed Cancun Cruz and Flyin’ Ted.

“I thought he couldn’t top what he did on Jan. 6,” notes the cartoonist, reflecting on the junior Texas senator’s actions on and after the attempted insurrection at the Capitol, “but Cruz is gonna Cruz.”

Whamond, who also draws the syndicated comic “Reality Check,” is fond of combining different events to illuminate a truth. “Cruz has echoed Trump’s line about Mexico ‘not sending their best,’ so I thought that would work perfectly to show the hypocrisy,” he says. “Plus, I really wanted to draw Ted Cruz poolside.”

Mike Luckovich of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution also decided to depict Cruz soaking up the rays, while also making excuses. In his cartoon, the lounging politician says he is “meeting with the sun to provide relief to Texans.”

The cartoon works, Luckovich says, because “it’s not hard to imagine Cruz coming up with an excuse like that.”

Matt Davies of Newsday painted the literal contrast — in cool tones vs. warmer watercolor tints — between freezing Texans and the Mexico-bound Cruz to illustrate his point starkly.

“That Ted Cruz went to Cancun to escape the punishing conditions being experienced by his constituents is completely in character and wholly unsurprising,” Davies says. “A political cartoonists' job is to shout at the top of our lungs that a person is really, really unsuited to hold high office — in the hope that perhaps people will listen.

“I’ve been warning in cartoon form about Cruz for years,” continues Davies, who says he draws Cruz with whiskers straight out of Dickens. “I just hope that maybe this time, Texans got the message.”

For Lalo Alcaraz, seeing the news coverage sparked flashbacks of his own traveling through the Cancun airport. Suddenly, an idea clicked.

The words “Caution” and “Cancun” are “only a few letters away, so that equals a quick cartoon,” says the Mexican American creator, who draws for Andrews McMeel Syndication. “The irony of anti-immigrant Ted Cruz escaping to Mexico for refuge was too good to pass up.”

Adds Whamond: “I thought we cartoonists would have a down period after Trump left, but we have many dumb politicians out there working for us every day.”

Here is how some other cartoonists are satirizing Cruz’s Mexican getaway:

Ann Telnaes (The Washington Post):

Steve Sack (Minneapolis Star Tribune):

Jeff Danziger (Rutland Herald):

Dave Granlund (Cagle Cartoons):

This post has been updated.

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