Cruz draws backlash for trip to Cancun amid winter storm crisis

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzOvernight Defense: Senate panel votes to scrap Iraq war authorizations | Police officer fatally stabbed outside Pentagon ID'd | Biden admin approves first Taiwan arms sale Senate panel votes to repeal Iraq war authorizations America's pandemic of COVID hypocrisy MORE (R-Texas) sparked backlash online after reports confirming that he and his family flew to Cancun, Mexico, as extreme winter weather battered his home state and left millions without power.

Both Fox News and The Associated Press confirmed on Thursday that Cruz traveled to Cancun after photos of the senator began circulating on social media Wednesday night. Cruz was expected to return to the U.S. immediately, according to the AP.

Former MSNBC anchor David Shuster tweeted that he had confirmed Cruz's presence on the flight.

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Extreme cold and snow have devastated the Lone Star State’s energy grid, which has been tied to at least 20 deaths. In a Thursday interview on CNN’s “New Day,” Austin Mayor Steve Adler (D) called for Gov. Greg Abbott (R) to provide “a better explanation” of how to prevent similar energy infrastructure failures going forward.

“The truth is that right now we’re just trying to keep people alive and safe for the next two days, so that’s where all of our focus is,” Adler said.

The reports came shortly after social media users highlighted numerous tweets from Cruz and other Texas lawmakers mocking earlier power outages in California. Cruz conceded Tuesday that he had “no defense,” adding, “A blizzard strikes Texas & our state shuts down. Not good.”

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The photo led to widespread mockery of the Texas senator on Twitter, including from comedian Blaire Erskine, who posted a satirical statement posing as Cruz's communications director. 

The Hill has reached out to Cruz’s office for comment.