Texas Democrats call for Ted Cruz to resign for reportedly flying to Cancun as many Texans still lack water, power

WASHINGTON – As millions of Texans continued to suffer in subfreezing temperatures without power and water, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz traveled with his family to sunny Cancún, Mexico on Wednesday where the temperatures were around 80 degrees, according to multiple news reports.

First spotted at an airport by a social media user who posted his photo, there was an immediate outcry overnight that a U.S. senator would travel out of the state amid the worst storm in many Texans' lifetimes.

Cruz's office has yet to respond to The Texas Tribune's request for comment.

Typically, in a disaster, a federal officeholder's primary role is to communicate to the federal branch — including the president — the immediate needs of the district or state. The first official move for a U.S. senator is to send a letter to the president after a governor makes a request for a federal emergency disaster declaration. Cruz and U.S. Sen. John Cornyn wrote such a letter on Feb. 14.

In the throes of a crisis, the onus of executing aid is mostly on a state's governor. But, as state leaders, senators often help coordinate relief efforts with other public officials, engage in a public information campaign and great care is taken to ensure the senator is in the public eye and showing concern.

The bigger task for senators comes after a crisis, when they must fight for federal money to deal with the damage.

The backlash on Twitter began Wednesday night, and by Thursday morning the state's junior senator was trending. Texas Democratic Party Chairman Giliberto Hinojosa issued a statement calling on the senator to step down.

"Ted Cruz jetting off to Mexico while Texans remain dying in the cold isn’t surprising but it is deeply disturbing and disappointing," he said. "Now, he is proving to be an enemy to our state by abandoning us in our greatest time of need. For the 21st time, the Texas Democratic Party calls on Ted Cruz to resign or be expelled from office."

Cruz has previously made political sport of criticizing Democratic rivals in the state and in California are subject to more intensive scrutiny.

In December, Cruz hammered Austin Mayor Steve Adler for traveling to Mexico while urging Austinies to stay home over the holidays.

"Hypocrites. Complete and utter hypocrites. And don't forget @MayorAdler who took a private jet with eight people to Cabo and WHILE IN CABO recorded a video telling Austinites to "stay home if you can...this is not the time to relax."

Earlier this week, Cruz was a focal point of ire among critics due to a 2020 tweet he sent mocking California's inability "to perform even basic functions of civilization, like having reliable electricity."

On Tuesday, he posted an about face on that front: “I got no defense...A blizzard strikes Texas & our state shuts down. Not good. Stay safe!”