Already in hot water after a trip to Cancún amid a statewide emergency, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) seems to be trying to chill disapproval.
In photos Cruz posted of himself with the caption #TexasStrong, he is wearing a face mask with the Texas flag on it and distributing water bottles to people, shaking a maskless woman’s hand in one picture. He appeared to be in Harris County, posting more photos the next day in close contact with first responders, serving them barbecue. Immediately after his initial posts, responses flooded in, condemning Cruz for disregarding federal guidance, which not only advises against traveling to Mexico because of the number of coronavirus cases there, but also recommends that travelers stay home for seven days once they’ve returned to reduce the spread of the virus.
“You should be quarantining right now,” the Lincoln Project, a group of Republicans who oppose former president Donald Trump, commented in response to Cruz’s photos.
People who have traveled from Mexico should also get tested for the coronavirus three to five days after their trip, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Two days after he decided jetting to Cancun, Mexico for a family vacation amid the #TexasWinterStorm wasn’t really the best idea: https://t.co/bw8s4sdcRh— Steve Herman (@W7VOA) February 21, 2021
Cruz flew back to Texas from Cancún on Thursday after outrage about his tropical travels boiled over. A spokesperson for Cruz told The Washington Post he tested negative before his return flight to Texas and on Sunday before he traveled to Washington, D.C.
On Sunday, Cruz shared a Dallas Morning News article about people facing skyrocketing electric bills, which were widely blamed on the state’s unregulated, independent power grid.
“This is WRONG,” he wrote. “No power company should get a windfall because of a natural disaster, and Texans shouldn’t get hammered by ridiculous rate increases for last week’s energy debacle. State and local regulators should act swiftly to prevent this injustice.”
Critics quickly seized on Cruz’s comments, pointing out the contrast between his past defense of private companies over governance.
“Success of TX energy is no accident: it was built over many years on principles of free enterprise & low regulation w more jobs & opportunities as the constant goal,” he wrote in a 2019 tweet that resurfaced after his Sunday post. “We work to export this recipe for success to more & more states so that all Americans enjoy the same prosperity.”
“When you think of regulated monopolies, regulated public utilities, what are the adjectives that come to mind? They’re not bold, innovative …” he said in 2014.
https://t.co/6UIx7piRw4 pic.twitter.com/2Xs1rSUywu— Brian Tyler Cohen (@briantylercohen) February 21, 2021
“Pleased to see a Republican Senator call for governmental regulation of the market,” Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) tweeted in response. “We’ve learned time and time again that industry in many cases is unable to regulate itself.”
The Texas Democratic Party said Cruz made his priorities clear when “he ditched Texas during our greatest time of need.”
“No amount of pandering is going to change that,” spokeswoman Abhi Rahman wrote in an emailed statement. “Cruz has a lifetime of comments that have shown to light twenty years of Republican [deficiencies] that led to the crisis we saw last week. We will hold Cruz accountable in 2024.”
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