Images allegedly showing Ted Cruz aboard a United Airlines flight from Houston, TX to Cancun, Mexico.
Source: @Ian McBride via Twitter
Will Senator Ted Cruz be known as "Flyin 'Ted" now?
Photos erupted on social media allegedly showing a masked Cruz on Wednesday boarding a plane in Houston and then flying to Cancun, Mexico, despite millions of his Texans froze from historically low temperatures and widespread power outages.
Hours after thousands of Twitter posts shared these photos, other images showed someone with the Republican's last name and the first initial of his legal first name – Rafael – standing by for a United Airlines flight from Cancun back to Houston. This flight is scheduled to start on Thursday afternoon.
At the time, the temperature in Houston was only 34 degrees Fahrenheit – 50 degrees colder than Cancun.
NBC News did not receive any comment from Cruz's office on the images despite repeated requests.
Images allegedly showing Ted Cruz with Heidi Cruz (circled) on board a United Airlines flight from Houston, TX to Cancun, Mexico.
Source: @Ian McBride via Twitter
A Houston Police Department spokesman told NBC News that Cruz staff asked the department on Wednesday afternoon to assist Cruz with his arrival and movements through George Bush Intercontinental Airport, where a scheduled flight was at 4:44 p.m. Local time to Cancun.
Images posted on social media show a woman who appears to be Cruz & # 39; wife Heidi with him at the airport on Wednesday.
The Dallas Morning News reported that the gray mask seen on the man in the airport photos is the same mask used by Cruz when President Joe Biden was inaugurated last month and during the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump in the Senate last week.
The mask features the image of a black cannon and the words "Come and Take It," a design reminiscent of flags Texans used during the 1835 revolution against Mexico – a provocative choice given the target, "the newspaper said.
The Texas Democratic Party urged Cruz to resign or be expelled from office in light of the apparent trip.
"In the middle of one of the worst crises in Texas history, Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz flew to Cancun, Mexico. His constituents in Texas remain trapped in the cold with no clean water, heat, or hot food. 37 of them have died, "the party said in a statement.
"This is what we expected the Texas Republican leadership to do. They are self-serving, incompetent, corrupt politicians who believe that in office they are entitled to do what they want."
Former MP Beto O & # 39; Rourke, a Democrat who lost a narrow Senate election to Cruz in 2018, beat him up during an interview on MSNBC's Morning Joe Thursday.
Cruz "is on vacation in Cancun as the people of the state he was elected to represent and serve are literally freezing to death," said O & # 39; Rourke, who campaigned for the Democratic President nomination in 2019.
Julian Castro, the former mayor of San Antonio who served as secretary for the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, tweeted: "In crises like this, Congressmen play a vital role in connecting their constituents to emergency services and aid. "
Cruz "should be calling federal agencies, not a trip to Mexico," Castro wrote.
Ted Cruz on standby for a United Airlines flight
Source: United Airlines
On Tuesday, Cruz got toasted on Twitter and elsewhere for making fun of California's blackouts months ago.
In response, Cruz tweeted that day, "I have no defense. A snow storm hits Texas and our state is closed. Not good."
In December, Cruz criticized Democratic officials for failing to adhere to their own restrictions on coronavirus pandemics, including Steve Adler, Mayor of Austin, Texas, who himself flew to Mexico for his daughter's wedding in November despite urging residents of his city to stay at home.
"Hypocrites. Complete and utter hypocrites," wrote Cruz in his December 2 tweet.
Photos of Cruz without a mask on an American Airlines flight and at an airport gate were widely reported in July.
The person who took the photos and worked for the Democratic Congressional Campaigning Committee noted that American Airlines guidelines require travelers to wear face covers.
Cruz's spokeswoman at the time claimed that Cruz temporarily removed his mask to drink coffee.
While running up against Cruz in the 2016 Republican nomination contests, Trump regularly used the contemptuous nickname "Lyin 'Ted" when talking about him.
Cruz later became a passionate Trump supporter and tried unsuccessfully last month to get Congress to reject confirmation of Biden's victories on electoral college in several states.
That verification process was interrupted on January 6th by the invasion of the Capitol complex by thousands of Trump supporters. Five people, including a Capitol Police Office, died as a result of the uprising.