GOP Texas Congressman attacks Ted Cruz: ‘When a crisis hits my state, I’m there’

The crisis hit Texas when two brutal winter storms swept across the state last week

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Monday 22 February 2021 20:34 GMT
Related video: Texas Sen. Ted Cruz explains family vacation amid growing backlash

Texas House Republican Michael McCaul slammed Ted Cruz for flying to Cancun amidst power outages and freezing temperatures leaving millions of Texans without heat or clean drinking water. At least 70 people are thought to have died from hypothermia in the state.

Speaking on CNN's State of the Union on Sunday, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee said: "Look, when a crisis hits my state, I'm there. I'm not going to go on some vacation. I know Mr Cruz called it a mistake, and he's owned up to that. But I think that was a big mistake."

He added: "And, as for me, I was on the ground trying to help my people out and my constituents. And that's what we should be doing in a time of crisis, just like we did during the hurricane season as well."

The crisis hit Texas when two winter storms swept across the state between 10 and 17 February.

Over 4.3 million homes and businesses ended up without power, some for multiple days in the freezing cold.

Read more: Ted Cruz tried to repair his image - and it immediately backfired

The main cause of the power outages was that natural gas, coal and nuclear plants stopped functioning as a result of the winter storms.

Axios reported Sunday that Mr Cruz invited his college roommate David Panton on the trip. Mr Panton stayed at the Ritz-Carlton in Cancun as Mr Cruz flew back to Texas one day after arriving amid a maelstrom of criticism.

Mr McCaul told CNN: "Normally, in Texas, wintertimes are pretty nice. We haven't been hit by an arctic blast like this since the 1890s. To put it in perspective, it was down below five degrees [fahrenheit], close to zero degrees for many days."

He added that he "was without power in my home for about five days, no water or electricity. And that was true across the state. It was really unprecedented, a lot of damage".

President Joe Biden declared the fallout of the winter storm a major disaster, sending federal aid to Texas. While the temperatures are once again above freezing and the snow is gone, just how many really died won't be known for weeks or maybe months, The Texas Tribune reported.

Now that many have got their power back on, the state faces a new crisis: a lack of water because of burst pipes and other issues. Some Texans had to melt snow to get water during the crisis. The Associated Press reported that seven million people in the state were ordered to boil their tap water before drinking it.

In full damage control mode, Mr Cruz was mocked yet again over the weekend as he posted photos of himself helping constituents load water into their cars at a time that he had initially planned to still be vacationing at a luxury resort in Mexico.

Republican Texas State Representative Gary Gates landed in similar hot water after he flew on a private jet to Florida to get out of his district where part of his home was flooded, telling KPRC TV that he was motivated out of concern for his family.

He said: “Because of my wife’s illness that she’s had for a couple of weeks and my handicapped daughter with her area of the house being flooded, I was just trying to find some easier accommodations for them and I was trying to find a place where I could continue to work and do the things I needed to do.

“I felt that I needed to be able to be in the best position to try to be somewhere where I had dependable power, dependable internet and dependable phone service,” Mr Gates added.

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