Speed Reads

Flyin' Ted

Text messages appear to show how quickly Ted Cruz's ill-advised Cancun trip was planned

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has blamed his tween daughters for the family's international vacation to Mexico, but text messages obtained by The New York Times and Reform Austin News show that his wife, Heidi, was messaging friends and neighbors on Wednesday about heading south of the border amid a harsh winter storm that has left millions of Texans without power and water.

Cruz was spotted at George Bush Intercontinental Airport on Wednesday afternoon, leaving behind cold Houston for warm Cancun. He was swiftly criticized for fleeing the state as millions of his constituents suffered amid brutal conditions, and he returned to Texas on Thursday. During his first attempt to smooth things over, Cruz said his daughters — who are 10 and 12 — "asked to take a trip with friends" and "wanting to be a good dad," he agreed to take them to Cancun.

The text messages obtained by the Times show Heidi Cruz messaged friends and neighbors to say her house did not have electricity and was "FREEZING." The family was staying with friends, she added, before asking: "Anyone can or want to leave for the week? We may go to Cancun." Cruz said they could stay at the Ritz-Carlton, leaving that afternoon and coming back on Sunday. No one showed any interest in joining Ted Cruz on vacation, so Heidi Cruz offered up her home's gas stove in case anyone needed to heat water.

The Houston Police Department confirmed with the Times that someone from the senator's office called and asked for officers to provide "assistance upon arrival" Wednesday at the airport, and law enforcement was also spotted with Cruz when he returned to Houston on Thursday. Back in the U.S., Cruz offered a new statement, telling reporters it was "obviously a mistake" to go to Cancun and claiming he had "second thoughts" as soon as he got on the plane. His daughters, he said, had "a tough week," and "all of us who are parents have a responsibility to take care of our kids, take care of our families, but I also have a responsibility that I take very seriously of fighting for the state of Texas."