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Houston’s top cop slams ‘tone deaf’ Ted Cruz and confirms he requested police escort before Cancun

Houston’s Police Chief has slammed Texas senator Ted Cruz as ‘tone deaf’ after he flew to Cancun in the middle of the state’s energy crisis for a vacation. 

Chief Art Acevedo said it is for Cruz to explain his ‘bad decision’, after confirming the senator requested a police escort at Houston’s airport before his trip. 

Cruz enraged his state by fleeing in the midst of the worst snow storms to hit in decades, with the power failing for millions, and people left freezing in the subzero temperatures. 

At least 24 people are known to have died in Texas. 

Cruz had blamed his 10 and 12-year-old daughters for his ill-advised trip, claiming he was ‘just trying to be a dad’ and make them happy. 

Houston’s Police Chief Art Acevedo  has slammed Texas senator Ted Cruz as ‘tone deaf’ after he flew to Cancun in the middle of the state’s energy crisis for a vacation

Cruz is shown with his wife Heidi (right) and one of his two daughters (left)

Cruz is shown with his wife Heidi (right) and one of his two daughters (left)

Cruz was wheeling a large carry-on which suggested he planned to spend more than one night at the Mexican resort

Cruz was wheeling a large carry-on which suggested he planned to spend more than one night at the Mexican resort

Ted Cruz, speaking at home in Texas on Thursday afternoon, admitted he made a mistake in flying to Cancun amid the storms

Ted Cruz, speaking at home in Texas on Thursday afternoon, admitted he made a mistake in flying to Cancun amid the storms

He said they had begged to leave their Houston home, telling Sean Hannity on Thursday night:  ‘My girls said school’s been cancelled, can we take a trip and go somewhere warm. And Heidi and I, as parents, we said OK, sure.’

When asked what his reaction to Senator Cruz taking a vacation ‘when so many of his fellow republicans are struggling’, Police Chief Acevedo told CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer: ‘We’ve all made poor choices. That’s for him to explain. 

‘I think it’s a little tone-deaf. And sometimes you got to teach your kids the word “no” and this probably would have been a good time to tell your kids “no, we’re blessed, but we have to wait till we get Texas on our feet.’ 

‘Again, we’ve all made bad decisions sometimes. As a dad, maybe his heart got the best of him,’ Acevedo added. 

But it has since emerged his wife Heidi had texted friends in Texas urging them in escaping the ‘FREEZING’ weather, in a trip that now appears motivated by escaping the cold rather than appeasing their traumatized daughters.

When asked what his reaction to Senator Cruz taking a vacation 'when so many of his fellow republicans are struggling', Police Chief Acevedo told CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer: 'We've all made poor choices. That's for him to explain'

When asked what his reaction to Senator Cruz taking a vacation ‘when so many of his fellow republicans are struggling’, Police Chief Acevedo told CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer: ‘We’ve all made poor choices. That’s for him to explain’

The Ritz Carlton in Cancun where the Cruzes are staying, paying $309 a night at the luxury ocean-front hotel

The Ritz Carlton in Cancun where the Cruzes are staying, paying $309 a night at the luxury ocean-front hotel

CRUZ’S CONFLICTING COMMENTS

MONDAY ‘Thankfully, my home, we didn’t lose power.  

‘If you can stay home, don’t go out on the roads, don’t risk the ice. … 

‘Don’t risk it. Keep your family safe, and just stay home and hug your kids.’ 

THURSDAY MORNING, IN A STATEMENT: ‘Like millions of Texans, our family lost heat and power too. 

‘With school canceled 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.’

THURSDAY AFTERNOON, TO KTRT: ‘It was obviously a mistake and in hindsight I wouldn’t have done it.

‘I was trying to be a dad.

‘And all of us have made decisions – when you’ve got two girls who have been cold for two days, and haven’t had heat or power, and they are saying: ‘Look, we don’t have school, why don’t we go, let’s get out of here.”

THURSDAY EVENING, TO HANNITY:  

‘We lost power for two days, we lost power, we had no heat.

‘We were huddled around the fireplace behind me because it was the only heat in the house.

‘After a couple of days, with it being really cold and the teens outside, my girls said school’s been cancelled, can we take a trip and go somewhere warm.

‘And Heidi and I, as parents, we said OK, sure.

‘So last night I flew down with them to the beach. And I flew back this afternoon.

‘I had initially planned to stay through the weekend and work remotely there.

‘As I was heading down I started to have second thoughts almost immediately.

‘Because the crisis here in Texas you need to be on the ground, because as much as you can do by phone and Zoom, it’s not the same.

‘So I returned this afternoon and I’m here working to do everything we can to get the power turned on.’

 

Yet, on Thursday night, Cruz doubled down on his excuse that the trip was for his daughters, telling ABC 13 during an interview at his Houston home: ‘They said, ‘Look, lets take a trip. Lets go with some of our friends and lets get out of here and lets go somewhere warm. 

‘And Heidi and I said … lets go.’ 

Asked directly what he was thinking, Cruz replied: ‘You question what I was thinking, and … I was trying to take care of my family. 

‘I was trying to take care of my kids. It’s unfortunate, the fire storm that came from it. It was not my intention. In saying yes to my daughters to somehow diminish all the Texans that were going through real hardship.’ 

Yet Heidi’s messages home to a group named ‘(Street name) Lovelies,’ for the street they all live on, did not mention their daughters’ plight.

The New York Times first reported the text messages, citing a person in the group and the original sender, who confirmed their authenticity.

‘Anyone can or want to leave for the week? she asked her friends, in text messages obtained by American Bridge.

‘We may go to Cancun there is a direct flight at 445pm and hotels w capacity.’

She then sent round the details of their flights to friends, confirming they were leaving on United flight 1020 on Wednesday, and returning on Sunday at 4:45pm, landing in Houston at 6:15pm.

‘Ritz Carlton $309 plus tax,’ she said.

Heidi, a managing director in Goldman Sachs’ Houston office, asked their friends: ‘Are you guys warm enough? We have a fireplace! Let us know. Our house is FREEZING tho… we couldn’t stand it anymore.’  

Their daughters, 10 and 12, were never referenced in the partial exchange.

Ted Cruz was fiercely criticized for his jaunt, and swiftly returned on realizing the terrible PR move.

He landed back in Houston on Thursday afternoon and said he ‘regrets’ flying to Cancun in the middle of the state’s energy crisis for a vacation – but insisted he was ‘just trying to be a dad’.  

‘It was obviously a mistake and in hindsight I wouldn’t have done it,’ he said, speaking on arrival at home in Houston.

‘I was trying to be a dad.

‘And all of us have made decisions – when you’ve got two girls who have been cold for two days, and haven’t had heat or power, and they are saying: ‘Look, we don’t have school, why don’t we go, let’s get out of here.”

He added: ‘I think there are a lot of parents that would be like, ‘If I can do this, great.’ 

‘That’s what I wanted to do. As I said, really from the moment I sat on the plane, I began really second-guessing that decision.’ 

On Monday night, Cruz spoke on a radio show which airs from 5-8pm, telling the host: ‘Thankfully, my home, we didn’t lose power.’ 

The power went out at around 6pm on Tuesday, he told Hannity.

Protesters at Houston airport held out signs as he landed on Thursday that read: ’24 dead’. Others gathered outside his home to show their anger at his jaunt. 

They yelled: ‘Resign!’ as he spoke to local media outside his Colonial Revival home. 

A protester, Mary Kay Hoffman, waited for Ted Cruz at Houston airport with a sign reminding him of the death toll from storms

A protester, Mary Kay Hoffman, waited for Ted Cruz at Houston airport with a sign reminding him of the death toll from storms

Protesters waited for Cruz outside his home on Thursday afternoon as he arrived home, less than 24 hours after leaving

Protesters waited for Cruz outside his home on Thursday afternoon as he arrived home, less than 24 hours after leaving

Ted Cruz checks in for a flight at Cancun International Airport after a backlash over his Mexican family vacation

Ted Cruz checks in for a flight at Cancun International Airport after a backlash over his Mexican family vacation 

He also claimed that the girls asked him ‘yesterday’ if they could go away, and he and Heidi ‘agreed’. Within hours they were all on the plane.  

Temperatures plummeted to as low as -2F in Texas this week and snow and ice has blanketed much of the state. It has been 85 F and sunny in Cancun all week by contrast. 

Cruz was slammed for both the trip and for seeming to blame it on his kids once people started criticizing him for it. 

Before he released his statement, sources told Fox and The New York Times that the trip was pre-planned. 

He was also carrying a large carry-on which suggested he planned to stay for longer than just one night. 

He later admitted he intended to stay ‘throughout the weekend’.

Heidi Cruz’s texts said she planned on returning to Houston on Sunday evening, landing back in the Texan city at 6pm after a four night break at the luxury Mexican beach resort. 

Before flying on Wednesday, Cruz requested a police escort through Houston airport, before his flight to Cancun at around 4pm. 

Cruz was dropped off at the airport on Thursday by a Ritz Carlton van

Cruz was dropped off at the airport on Thursday by a Ritz Carlton van 

Sources at United say the Senator hurriedly changed his flight home at 6am on Thursday morning

Sources at United say the Senator hurriedly changed his flight home at 6am on Thursday morning 

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz speaks to the media at the Cancun International Airport before boarding his plane back to the U.S., in Cancun, Mexico February 18, 2021. He was wearing a Texas mask and spoke briefly to Telemundo, a local station, amid uproar over his planned vacation during the worst energy crisis Texas has ever seen

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz speaks to the media at the Cancun International Airport before boarding his plane back to the U.S., in Cancun, Mexico February 18, 2021. He was wearing a Texas mask and spoke briefly to Telemundo, a local station, amid uproar over his planned vacation during the worst energy crisis Texas has ever seen

He was pictured at the United Airlines lounge, at the gate and on the plane before take-off. He was also on the standby list for an upgrade to business class but didn’t get it. His wife Heidi’s name wasn’t on the list for an upgrade.

The family was planning on staying in a resort they’ve visited before, sources said, though it’s unclear which exactly.  

Temperatures in Texas this week dropped as low as -2 F – the lowest they have been since 1903 – and snow and ice is blanketing the state. By contrast, it is 85 F and sunny all week.  

Cruz was due to return on Saturday, but as criticism of the trip exploded on Thursday morning, with many furious Texans demanding to know why he hadn’t stayed behind to help in the crisis, he changed his plans.

He was on the list for a business class upgrade on one of the afternoon flights out of Cancun on Thursday afternoon.  

To re-enter the US from a foreign country, all passengers must first test negative for COVID-19 by law. 

Ted Cruz is pictured on Wednesday afternoon at Houston Airport jetting to Cancun with his wife and kids on a United Airlines flight while more than 3million Texans were freezing in their homes without power. On Tuesday, he told people to stay at home and 'hug their kids'and above all else, avoid driving or traveling in the dangerous conditions

Ted Cruz is pictured on Wednesday afternoon at Houston Airport jetting to Cancun with his wife and kids on a United Airlines flight while more than 3million Texans were freezing in their homes without power. On Tuesday, he told people to stay at home and ‘hug their kids’and above all else, avoid driving or traveling in the dangerous conditions

Cruz pictured arriving on Thursday at Cancun Airport

Cruz pictured arriving on Thursday at Cancun Airport

Cruz pictured arriving on Thursday at Cancun Airport amid uproar over his planned vacation to Mexico in the middle of an energy crisis in Texas

They’re then advised by the CDC to obtain a negative COVID test again, three to five days after they return, and quarantine for a full seven days after they return. Texas has no quarantine laws for entering from another country or state. 

The Houston Police Department confirmed his office contacted their staff at the airport and ‘requested assistance’ on Wednesday before his outbound flight.

‘HPD officers monitored his movements through the terminal,’ a spokesman for the force said. 

The situation in Texas is so bad that people are being told to boil water before drinking to reduce any possible contaminants due to a failure in water pressure and plants. 

Many can’t because they don’t have the power to do it. 

Cruz on Monday said that his home hadn’t lost power, and that he and his wife had welcomed in their children’s friends who weren’t as lucky. 

‘Thankfully, my home, we didn’t lose power. 

‘So right now we’ve got a bunch of the neighborhood kids all over playing with our girls, because their parents lost power and our house was lucky.

‘So we’ve got kids running up and down the stairs right now,’ he told radio host Joe Paglialuro on Monday. 

He went on: ‘If you can stay home, don’t go out on the roads, don’t risk the ice… Don’t risk it. 

‘Keep your family safe, and just stay home and hug your kids.’  

People wait in line to fill propane tanks Wednesday in Houston. Customers had to wait over an hour in the freezing rain to fill their tanks

People wait in line to fill propane tanks Wednesday in Houston. Customers had to wait over an hour in the freezing rain to fill their tanks

On Thursday morning, the Mayor of Galveston said the ‘human suffering’ he was witnessing was ‘very concerning’ and that the situation was worse than any hurricane the state has experienced because it’s affecting the whole state and not just the coast.  

After images of Cruz at the airport surfaced online Sawyer Hackett, senior advisor and communications for Mayor of San Antonio Julian Castro tweeted: ‘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.’

Beto O’Rourke was among those who criticized him. 

‘Cruz seems to believe there isn’t much for him to do in Texas for the millions of fellow Texans who remain without electricity/water and are literally freezing,’ he tweeted on Wednesday night.  

Hackett later called for Cruz to ‘resign or be expelled immediately’.

Twitter user Elsa Ramon posted: ‘My 73-yo dad lives in Austin and is sleeping in full winter camping gear. 

He sits in his running truck with the heater on during the day for warmth, @tedcruz. 

‘Enjoy Cancun, you morally bankrupt piece of s***.’ 

National Weather Service lead forecaster Bob Oravec had earlier said of Texas: ‘There’s really no letup to some of the misery people are feeling across that area.’ 

Pictures then emerged of Cruz waiting in line to check in his bags and boarding the flight to Mexico. 

This week’s extreme weather has been blamed for the deaths of more than 30 people, some of whom perished while struggling to keep warm inside their homes. 

In the Houston area, one family succumbed to carbon monoxide from car exhaust in their garage. Another family died while using a fireplace to keep warm. 

The president of the Texas power grid manager, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, said he hoped many customers would see at least partial service restored by later Wednesday or Thursday. 

Problems first began with Winter Storm Uri – a brutal weather system that is sweeping the country. Every other state in the storm’s path has been able to withstand it because they operate on a shared power source which means that if one state’s supply goes down, it can draw from the shared reserve. 

Leonel Solis and Estefani Garcia use their car to heat their home in East Dallas area of Dallas on Wednesday. The couple, who lost power on Sunday, have been using electricity from a neighbor's generator and heat from their car to stay warm

Leonel Solis and Estefani Garcia use their car to heat their home in East Dallas area of Dallas on Wednesday. The couple, who lost power on Sunday, have been using electricity from a neighbor’s generator and heat from their car to stay warm

Eric Bennis sits with his children inside a furniture store which opened as a shelter Wednesday in Houston; Millions in Texas still had no power after a historic snowfall and single-digit temperatures created a surge of demand for electricity

Eric Bennis sits with his children inside a furniture store which opened as a shelter Wednesday in Houston; Millions in Texas still had no power after a historic snowfall and single-digit temperatures created a surge of demand for electricity

But furious Texans now want to know why the state’s infrastructure wasn’t properly prepared, especially after a similar storm in 2011 caused the same problems. The Texas Tribune reports that not all of the generators in the state were upgraded after 2011 to tackle the issue. 

Jeff Dennis, managing director of Advanced Energy Economy, said: ‘Where did those recommendations go, and how were they implemented? Those are going to be some pretty key questions.’ 

The upgrades are what’s called ‘winterizing’ the energy system but experts say it is regularly put off because the changes are expensive. Texas’ deregulated energy market gives little financial incentives for operators to prepare for the rare bout of intensely cold weather, an issue critics have been pointing out for years.  

Water pressure has fallen across the state because lines have frozen, and many residents are leaving faucets dripping in hopes of preventing pipes from freezing, said Toby Baker, executive director of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott urged residents to shut off water to their homes, if possible, to prevent more busted pipes and preserve pressure in municipal systems.  

Travel remains ill-advised in much of the United States, with roadways treacherous and thousands of flights canceled.  

There are also delays to the COVID-19 vaccine distribution and many doses that were being stored are under threat because the freezers storing them can’t operate without power. 

And there are also fears that without any new gas becoming available soon, prices are about to skyrocket by as much as 20 cents per gallon. 

ERCOT officials still can’t say when power will be restored. ‘I know it’s frustrating we can’t offer a time certain, but it’s a process we’re engaged in to get the grid back in balance,’ ERCOT chief executive officer Bill Magness said during a news conference Tuesday. 

Ed Hirs, an energy fellow at the University of Houston, said the problem was a lack of weatherized power plants and a statewide energy market that doesn’t incentivize companies to generate electricity when demand is low. 

In Texas, demand peaks in August, at the height of the state’s sweltering summers.

He rejected that the storm went beyond what ERCOT could have anticipated.

‘That’s nonsense. It’s not acceptable,’ Hirs said. ‘Every eight to 10 years we have really bad winters. This is not a surprise.’   


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