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Ted Cruz's 2021 Cancun Vacation refers to the public controversy surrounding reports that United States Senator Ted Cruz, who represents Texas as a Republican, flew to Cancun, Mexico for vacation as millions of his constituents dealt with rolling blackouts caused by record-breaking cold, which killed at least 20 Texans. Cruz said in a statement that he was escorting his daughter on a trip and planned to return after flying his daughter to Cancun.
In February 2021, record-breaking cold weather spell caused the Texas energy grip to fail, due to overwhelming demand, leaving millions of residents without power. People reported damage to homes, as pipes froze and broke, flooding houses across the state. At least 30 people have died as a result of the cold.
On February 17th, Twitter  @Juan_Gomez18 tweeted, "Well Senator Cruz is flying to Cancun while millions of Texans do not have electricity." The tweet received more than 6,000 likes and 4,000 retweets in less than 24 hours (shown below, left).
That day, journalist David Shuster tweeted a photograph of U.S. Senator Ted Cruz on a flight to Cancun. He wrote, "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." The tweet received more than 66,000 likes and 45,000 retweets in less than 24 hours (shown below, right).
Throughout the day, people continued to post photos of Cruz and his family at the airport, boarding their flight and on the plane headed for Cancun. The digital manager for Senator Jon Ossoff Keith Edwards tweeted, "I now have multiple people DMing me, confirming he was on their flight to Cancun today." In the tweet, Edwards retweeted a photo of Cruz at the airport. The post received more than 13,000 likes and 4,900 retweets in less than 24 hours (shown below).
On Reddit, the controversy inspired conversation on numerous subreddits. Redditor bhodrolok posted about Cruz in the /r/politics subreddit, where the post received more than 80,000 points (89% upvoted) and 4,200 comments in less than 24 hours. On the /r/Texas subreddit, Redditor flashboy131 posted a photo of Cruz on board a plane. The post received more than 4,400 points (96% upvoted) and 630 comments in less than 24 hours (shown below, left).
Others on Twitter continued to share photos, too. Twitter user a senior advisor for Texas politician Julian Castro, Sawyer Hacket tweeted, "It appears in the middle of the worst energy crisis in the history of Texas, @tedcruz is on his way to Cancun with his family." The tweet received more than 71,000 likes and 24,000 retweets in less than 24 hours (shown below, right).
While Cruz was widely condemned for the trip, some defended him. On the messageboard TexAgs, user snowdog90In wrote, "You're not serious with this bull****, are you? I mean, is your sad little liberal brain so deluded as to be angry with Ted Cruz for taking a vacation? You have to be joking, right?"
On February 18th, 2021, reporter Jake Sherman tweeted that Cruz was returning home. He tweeted, "Here’s the upgrade list for this afternoon’s flight from Cancun to Houston. Looks like @tedcruz is on his way back, @danpfeiffer. He’s just narrowly missing the upgrade list That’s assuming that “cru, r” is him. And I do." The tweet received more than 13,000 likes and 5,000 retweets in less than 24 hours (shown below).
Ted Cruz's Response
On February 18th, 2021, Twitter user @betsy_klein tweeted a statement from Cruz about the trip. In the statement, he said, "With school cancelled for the week, our girls asked to take a trip with friends. Wanting to be a good dad, I flew down with them last time and am flying back this afternoon. My staff and I are in constant communication with state and local leaders to get to the bottom of what happened in Texas. We want our power back, our water on, and our homes warm. My team and I will continue using all our resources to keep Texans informed and staff." The post received more than 1,400 retweets and 645 likes (shown below).
While it initially appeared as though Cruz was attempting to spin the vacation as a one-day trip, he later admitted that the trip was an "obvious mistake" and he had initially planned to do "remote work" in Cancun through February 21st.
Heidi Cruz' Leaked Group Chat
On February 18th, 2021, the New York Times reported that Cruz's wife Heidi had invited several friends to stay with them at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Cancun until Sunday, February 21st, to escape the cold weather. The invitation was leaked to the New York Times by an undisclosed person in Heidi's text message thread. The texts were circulated on Twitter showing the invitation (shown below).
The leaked texts elicited glee from Cruz' critics, who felt it proved that even the Cruz family's friends were upset enough to sell them out. Twitter user @MollyKnight tweeted, "So the NYT got the Cancun group text from Cruz’s friends, proving once and for all that he has none" (shown below, left). User @MelissaRyan wrote, "When you're Ted Cruz even all your friends on your group text hate you" (shown below, right).
The post further elicited backlash against Cruz for his apparent insensitivity to the dog, while others commented on the irony of the dog being named "Snowflake" during Texas' snowstorm. User @kkhelil wrote, "Cruz’s dog is named Snowflake. I feel like he’s doing this on purpose now" (shown below, left). User @Karlotakki joked the dog looked similar to the dog in Silence of the Lambs (shown below, right).
 New York Times – Ted Cruz’s Cancún Trip Family Texts Detail His Political Blunder
 New York Magazine – Ted Cruz Abandons Freezing Texans And Poodle, Snowflake