DALLAS — Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said his family vacation to Mexico was “obviously a mistake” as he returned stateside Thursday following an uproar over his travel plans.
The Republican senator said he began second-guessing the trip since the moment he first got on the plane Wednesday. “In hindsight, I wouldn’t have done it,” he told reporters.
The Associated Press and other media outlets reported that he had traveled out of the country with his family as hundreds of thousands of Texans were still grappling with the fallout of a winter storm that crippled the state’s power grid. The trip drew criticism from leaders in both parties and was seen as potentially damaging to his future political ambitions.
Cruz said in an earlier statement Thursday that he accompanied his family to Cancun a day earlier after his daughters asked to go on a trip with friends, given that school was canceled for the week.
“Wanting to be a good dad, I flew down with them last night and am flying back this afternoon,” Cruz wrote.
“My staff and I are in constant communication with state and local leaders to get to the bottom of what happened in Texas,” he continued. “We want our power back, our water on, and our homes warm.”
Cruz told reporters Thursday night that he returned to the U.S. because he realized he needed to be in Texas.
“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 of our families safe,” Cruz said.
“It was obviously a mistake, and in hindsight, I wouldn’t have done it,” he said.
The fierce political backlash comes as Cruz eyes a second presidential run in 2024. He was already one of the most villainized Republicans in Congress, having created adversaries across the political spectrum in a career defined by fights with the establishment.
Texas officials ordered 7 million people — one-quarter of the population of the nation’s second-largest state — to boil tap water before drinking the water, after days of record low temperatures that damaged infrastructure and froze pipes.
In Austin, some hospitals faced a loss in water pressure and, in some cases, heat.
In his statement, Cruz said that his family had lost heat and power as well.
“This has been an infuriating week for Texans,” he said.
Cruz told reporters that he planned to “go home and keep working to get the grid reopened, to get power restored, to get the water back on.”
“A lot of Texans are hurting and this crisis is frustrating. It’s frustrating for millions of Texans. It shouldn’t happen,” he said.