Psaki says Texas officials should be focused on crisis as Cruz to return from Cancun

Republican senator travelled to Mexico as state endures widespread emergencies

Alex Woodward
New York
Thursday 18 February 2021 20:02 GMT
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(REUTERS)

Asked for a response to Republican Ted Cruz of Texas travelling to Cancun as his state endures widespread power outages amid devastating winter storms and infrastructure failures, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that “we expect that would be the focus” of the state’s elected officials.

“I don’t have any updates on the exact location of Senator Ted Cruz,  nor does anyone at the White House,” she said on Thursday.

“Our focus is on working directly with leadership in Texas and surrounding states on addressing the winter storm and the crisis at hand,” she said. “Many people across the state are without power, without the resources they need. We expect that would be the focus of anyone in the state or in surrounding states who is elected to represent them.”

The federal government has sent generators to critical sites like area hospitals in the state, along with 729,000 litres of water, thousands of blankets and more than 225,000 meals, according to Deputy National Security Advisor Liz Sherwood-Randall.

Roughly 1 million people are still without power, including more than 600,000 homes in Texas, she said.

“Extreme weather events … demonstrate to us that climate change is real and it’s happening now and we’re not adequately prepared for it,” Ms Sherwood-Randall said.

Freezing weather in the state and surrounding areas has triggered power failures, as well as food shortages and water outages. At least 10 people have died, while thousands continue to sit in the cold and dark.

After widespread criticism condemning the Texas Republican for seemingly abandoning his state during the crisis on Wednesday night, as social media erupted with photos of the senator preparing to board a plane with his family, Mr Cruz said on Thursday that “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,” he said.

On Monday, Mr Cruz encouraged Texas residents to stay home and avoid travelling.

“Don’t risk it, keep your family safe and hug your kids,” he told The Joe Pags Show on 15 February.

Ahead of his flight on Wednesday afternoon, his office requested Houston Police Department for assistance for his arrival at George Bush Intercontinental Airport.

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