Vacationers spotted Senator Ted Cruz flying to Cancun, Mexico in the middle of widespread blackouts in his home state of Texas. The photos were confirmed to be real and the accounts are true, according to multiple news articles. Sawyer Hackett, senior advisor and communications director for a former Democratic Texas lawmaker Julian Castro, shared photos on Twitter that went viral.
Cruz made a statement Thursday, February 18, saying he was returning home to Texas.
“It appears in the middle of the worst energy crisis in the history of Texas, @tedcruz is on his way to Cancun with his family,” Hackett wrote in a tweet, along with photos, published just after midnight Wednesday.
Millions of Texans were left without power as a winter storm overwhelmed the electric grid, leaving households without heat in record-breaking frigid temperatures. Another storm was forecast to hit Wednesday, with limited power restored. At least 20 people have died.
Castro served on former President Barack Obama’s cabinet as the 16th United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development from 2014 to 2017. He was previously the mayor of San Antonio.
Here’s what you need to know:
Cruz Said He Went to Cancun Because His Daughters Wanted to Take a Trip While School Was Out
Cruz made a statement Thursday saying he was returning to Texas after accompaning his family to Mexico a day earlier after his daughters asked to go on a trip with friends, he said, according to the Associated Press. School was cancelled for the week.
“Wanting to be a good dad, I flew down with them last night and am flying back this afternoon,” Cruz said in the statement. “My staff and I are in constant communication with state and local leaders to get to the bottom of what happened in Texas. We want our power back, our water on, and our homes warm.”
A Republican source told Fox News the accusation is true, and that the photos really do show Cruz travelling to Mexico from the Houston International Airport.
“The photos speak for themselves,” the source said.
Throughout the week, he has shared information on the winter storm and repeatedly urged Texans to “stay safe.”
Cruz’s full statement said:
This has been an infuriating week for Texans. The greatest state in the greatest country in the world has been without power. We have food lines, gas lines, and people sleeping at the neighbors’ houses. Our homes are freezing and our lights are out. Like millions of Texans, our family lost heat and power too.
With school cancelled for the week, our girls asked to take a trip with friends. Wanting to be a good dad, I flew down with them last night and am flying back this afternoon. My staff and I are in constant communication with state and local leaders to get to the bottom of what happened in Texas. We want our power back, our water on and our homes warm. My team and I will continue using all our resources to keep Texans informed and safe.
Web Sleuths & Texas Journalists Confirmed Cruz’s Identity Through His Unique Mask & Physical Features
The Dallas Morning News reported there was no mistaking Cruz’s identity, writing he wore the same mask at President Joe Biden’s inauguration and former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial. The mask is gray with a black cannon and the words, “Come and Take It,” a reference to the flags Texans flew in the 1835 revolution against Mexico.
One Twitter user used clues in the background to say Cruz was in the United terminal just after 4 p.m. Flight logs showed a plane was leaving for Cancun adjacent to the gate where he was photographed.
“Re: the Ted Cruz/Cancun thing, this is the photo that unlocks the whole thing. He’s in a United terminal,” the person wrote on Twitter. “In the top left you can that it’s 4:10 pm (or 4ish PM at least). To the left of that, you can see that he’s near gate E11, with its destination being Ft. Lauderdale.”
“UA1675 out of IAH was delayed, leaving terminal E11 today at 7:58 pm,” the thread continued. “UA1020 to Cancun left IAH from the gate immediately adjacent, E10, at 4:44 PM, the same hour that Ted Cruz is seen standing near E11. This is almost certainly legit.”
Others matched his glasses, a ring, tennis shoes, hairline and headphones to photos of Cruz, and some said they could see his wife, Heidi Cruz, in photos. The Dallas Morning News reported other passengers posted selfies with Cruz, and some people wrote on Facebook about speaking to him.
Keith Edwards, Democratic who worked on Democratic Georgia Senator Jon Ossof’s campaign, wrote on Twitter that multiple people confirmed the reports.
“I now have multiple people DMing me, confirming he was on their flight to Cancun today,” he wrote.