Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said he traveled to Cancun to accompany his daughters who wanted to go on vacation. Photo by Caroline Brehman/UPI | License Photo
Feb. 18 (UPI) -- Sen. Ted Cruz said Thursday his brief trip to Cancun, Mexico, while millions of Texans were without power and water amid a historic winter storm was "obviously a mistake."
The Republican senator's comments to reporters came after he returned to his Houston home from the airport. He originally issued a statement saying he traveled to Mexico with his wife and two daughters in an effort to be a "good dad."
Cruz was spotted by fellow travelers Wednesday at Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport. Photos showed him boarding a flight to Cancun with his family.
Houston Police Department spokeswoman Jodi Silva told the Houston Chronicle the department provided security for Cruz at the airport Wednesday.
"A member of Ted Cruz's staff contacted HPD on Wednesday afternoon," she said. "They stated would be arriving that afternoon and requested HPD assistance on his arrival."
He returned to Texas on Thursday afternoon.
"In hindsight, I wouldn't have done it. I was trying to be a dad and all of us have made decisions, when you have two girls who have been cold for two days and haven't had heat or power and they're saying 'Hey look, we don't have school, let's get out of here,'" Cruz told reporters. "As I said, really from the moment I sat on the plane, I began really second-guessing that decision."
Cruz said he had planned to work remotely while in Cancun and implied he intended to stay longer than Thursday.
"As it became a bigger and bigger firestorm, it became all the more compelling that I needed to come back because our priority should be fixing the problem and making sure it doesn't happen again," he said. "I didn't want all the screaming and yelling about this trip to distract even one moment from the real issues that I think Texans care about, which is keeping all our families safe."
Cruz had confirmed the flight earlier Thursday in a statement.
"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," he said.
"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."
Fellow lawmakers and local leaders took Cruz to task for flying to a tropical vacation spot during the natural disaster ravaging his state. Rep. Gene Wu, D-Texas, said Cruz's actions were "on-brand."
"Guess which U.S. senator from Texas flew to Cancun while the state was freezing to death and having to boil water?" Wu tweeted. "I have so many expletives."
Wu also compared Cruz's actions to those of former Rep. Beto O'Rourke, who ran against Cruz in the 2018 Senate race.
O'Rourke has been tweeting about his involvement with a group of volunteers who called hundreds of thousands of seniors in Texas to help them with heat, food, water and shelter.