WASHINGTON (REUTERS) – US Senator Ted Cruz faced widespread criticism on social media on Thursday (Feb 18) after images went viral online that a journalist said showed him flying to a resort in Cancun while his home state of Texas struggled through a deadly deep freeze.
Photos circulating on social media appeared to show the Texas Republican in airport line, in a passenger lounge and aboard an airliner.
But it was unclear when the photos were taken and claims of confirmation offered no further information.
Fox News said Cruz flew to Cancun with his family, quoting an unidentified Republican source who said: “The photos speak for themselves.”
Cruz’s social media pages and official website made no mention of the photos.
He ran unsuccessfully for president in 2016.
Hours before the Fox News report, photos began circulating on social media that a journalist said had shown him flying to Mexico’s Caribbean coast, where temperatures were to be above 80 deg F (27 deg C).
“Just confirmed @SenTedCruz and his family flew to Cancun tonight for a few days at a resort they’ve visited before. 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,” former MSNBC anchor David Shuster tweeted shortly after midnight.
Millions of Texans remained paralysed by power and water outages after a winter storm and freezing temperatures that hampered efforts to restore full power.
With 2.7 million Texas households still without heat, leaders warned of a domino effect on infrastructure as the lack of power cut off water supplies, strained the ability of hospitals to treat Covid-19 patients and isolated vulnerable communities with frozen roads still impassable.
The controversy over the storm quickly became fodder for the nascent 2022 election battle for congressional seats in Texas, though Mr Cruz won’t be up for re-election until 2024.
“Texas, you deserve so much better! Upgrade your representation starting in ’22!” Democratic National Committee chairman Jaime Harrison tweeted.
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