WASHINGTON: United States Senator Ted Cruz flew to the Mexican resort city of Cancun with his family, Fox News reported on Thursday (Feb 18), as millions of his fellow Texans struggled through a deadly deep freeze, sparking a slew of criticism.
The Republican lawmaker, 50, faced widespread criticism as photos circulated on social media showing him in an airport line, in a passenger lounge, aboard an airliner and departing an airport in Mexico. It was unclear when the photos were taken, and Cruz's Senate office did not respond to multiple queries.
Fox News said Cruz flew to Cancun with his family, quoting an unidentified Republican source who said: "The photos speak for themselves."
Cruz's social media pages and official website made no mention of the photos. He ran unsuccessfully for president in 2016.
Hours before the Fox News report, photos began circulating on social media that a journalist said had shown Cruz flying to Mexico's Caribbean coast, where temperatures were to be above 27 degrees Celsius.
"Just confirmed @SenTedCruz and his family flew to Cancun tonight for a few days at a resort they've visited before. Cruz seems to believe there isn't much for him to do in Texas for the millions of fellow Texans who remain without electricity/water and are literally freezing," former MSNBC anchor David Shuster tweeted shortly after midnight.
Millions of Texans remained paralysed by power and water outages after a winter storm and freezing temperatures that hampered efforts to restore full power.
With 2.7 million Texas households still without heat, leaders warned of a domino effect on infrastructure as the lack of power cut off water supplies, strained the ability of hospitals to treat COVID-19 patients and isolated vulnerable communities with frozen roads still impassable.