Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) ran to the friendly turf of Fox News on Thursday night for his first post-Cancun TV interview, once again throwing his young daughters under the bus while letting Fox viewers know that he immediately had “second thoughts” as he escaped a frozen, powerless Texas for a tropical getaway.
At the same time, Cruz was forced to admit that Fox News host Sean Hannity’s defense of his Cancun trip was not truthful.
The Texas lawmaker has been on the receiving end of a blizzard of backlash over his tone-deaf decision to flee his home state in the middle of a catastrophic winter storm that has left dozens dead and millions without power, water, and heat. After hustling back home, Cruz attempted to soften criticism he abandoned the Lone Star State and said the impetus for the trip was his desire to be a loving father.
“Whether the decision to go was tone-deaf, look, it was obviously a mistake, and in hindsight, I wouldn’t have done it. I was trying to be a dad,” the conservative senator said to reporters after returning to his house, all while a group of protesters yelled “Resign!” in the background.
During his primetime interview with the Republican senator, Hannity attempted to stick to the same defense of Cruz that the Fox host had tossed out on his radio show earlier in the afternoon, insisting that the lawmaker was just “escorting” his daughters to Cancun and had always planned to head right back.
“You went and you took your daughters to Cancun and you came back,” Hannity declared. “I think you can be a father and be the senator of Texas all at the same time and make a round-trip, quick drop-off, quick trip, and come home.”
Prior to the interview, however, Cruz had already admitted that his initial statement suggesting he was just accompanying his children to Mexico for a single night and shooting back home the next day was not true.
The senator’s admission followed reports that he was always scheduled to stay through the weekend and had only booked a return flight home Thursday morning after the scandal broke. Gleeful texts leaked on Thursday evening revealing that Cruz’s wife Heidi planned the getaway with neighbors earlier this week because the Cruz house was “FREEZING.”
Cruz went on to mildly correct Hannity over the length of his planned stay in Cancun after claiming he was working hard to get Texans answers over the power outages.
“After a couple of days of the girls being really cold and it being in the teens in the 20s outside, our girls said ‘Look, school has been canceled for the week. Can we take a trip and go somewhere warm?’” Cruz said. “And Heidi and I, as parents, we said ‘Okay, sure.’”
“And so last night I flew down with them to the beach and then I flew back this afternoon,” he added. “I had initially planned to stay through the weekend, but as I was heading down there, you know, I started to have second thoughts almost immediately because the crisis here in Texas, you need to be here on the ground.”
Hannity, meanwhile, continued to rally to Cruz’s defense, asserting that the coronavirus pandemic has shown us that you can work via “Zoom calls” and that Texans do not expect the senator to “go out there with a blowtorch and anti-freeze and get the wind turbines going.”
The Fox host concluded the sympathetic interview with one final salvo to lessen the PR damage to the right-wing lawmaker.
“There is always that double standard. You made the right call coming back. You also can be a father. There is also something called technology,” Hannity exclaimed. “I think there is a lot of sanctimony and politics being played in this
Before he himself was called out for fleeing his state in its most dire hour of need, Cruz had repeatedly blasted other politicians vacationing during local and regional crises. Just two months ago, he lashed out at Austin Mayor Steve Adler for traveling to Mexico as COVID-19 raged.
“Hypocrites. Complete and utter hypocrites,” Cruz tweeted at the time. “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.’”
Meanwhile, Cruz himself told the people of Texas just this past Monday not to “risk” travel during the deadly storm, calling on them to “keep your family safe and just stay home and hug your kids.”
Two days later, he was jetting off to The Ritz-Carlton and the sunny beaches of Cancun.