Ted Cruz less contrite about Cancun getaway than angered over leaked invites, tabloid bikini photos of wife
WASHINGTON — Ted Cruz has shifted to outrage at how he’s been treated for his aborted Cancun getaway, setting aside contrition for fleeing Texas as millions suffered without power and water last week.
The senator lashed out over paparazzi photos of his wife on the beach, and at whoever leaked her text messages about the trip. He blamed the uproar on news media eager for a fresh obsession to fill the void left by Donald Trump’s exit from the national stage.
And he insisted they didn’t abandon the family poodle in a cold house, despite a photo of the pooch peering from the front door, white and fluffy and perhaps forlorn.
“I love Snowflake. He was home with a dog sitter and actually the heat and power was back on,” Cruz said.
Remorse marked the early installments of a damage control tour inspired by the impromptu vacation to Mexico’s Caribbean coast. Cruz quickly shifted to penance, like serving BBQ to first responders and ripping wet carpet from a constituent’s flooded home.
The newest chapter has a harder edge.
“I was pretty pissed off,” Cruz said on the conservative Ruthless podcast Tuesday,adding that Heidi Cruz has tried to figure out who showed The New York Times her invites to join them for a four-night stay at the $309-a-night Ritz Carlton. “Here’s a suggestion: Just don’t be a–holes. Like, just, you know, treat each other as human beings. Have …some modicum of respect.”
That leak forced him to retreat from an insinuation that he’d only ever intended to stay just one night — despite a huge rolling bag that said otherwise — and that he was only shuttling Catherine and Caroline to the beach as a “good dad” so they could escape a frigid house.
In her invites to friends, Heidi Cruz texted that the house was “FREEZING.”
Cruz has said the house lost power Monday night and got it back two days later. So if Snowflake was not without heat, as Cruz now says, the family didn’t have to leave home to find a warm place to sleep.
The family flew to Mexico late afternoon last Wednesday, outed immediately at the Houston airport and aboard the flight by fellow sun-seekers shocked to see a statewide official leave while millions of his constituents lacked heat, electricity or safe water.
Cruz was back in Houston in under 24 hours, conceding the trip was “obviously a mistake.”
The photo of Snowflake “was creepy,” he said. “Even more creepy, frankly, was, paparazzi went down to the beach and took pictures of Heidi in a bikini.”
“She is pissed…. Heidi is smoking hot, so I said, man you look great,” Cruz said on the podcast. “But I don’t think there are many women that would be thrilled to have reporters following them around taking pictures of their bikinis and then sticking them in the pages of the New York Post.”
Cruz has endured days of ridicule from late night comedians and Democratic detractors.
“I haven’t had this much negative press coverage since Northern California in the 1960s,” referring to a long-running joke that he is secretly the Zodiac, a serial killer active decades ago.
The self-deprecation was paired with annoyance at the friends and neighbors, so far unidentified, who leaked Heidi’s enticements to join them on a four-night vacation. He noted that his neighbors include members of both parties and he realizes not all are fans of his.
“Some folks on our street put up Beto signs, which I thought was a little — it’s a little rude,” said Cruz, who edged past Beto O’Rourke in the 2018 election. “But I didn’t hold a victory party in the front yard when we won.”
O’Rourke himself swung into action when the crisis hit last week, a contrast with Cruz’s initial instinct that as a federal lawmakers, he has little to contribute to disaster mitigation.
The former El Paso congressman raised funds and organizing phone banks to connect needy Texans with heating centers and other resources. He chastised Cruz for “vacationing in Cancun…when people are literally freezing to death in the state that he’s elected to represent and to serve.”
On Monday night’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” Cruz’s erstwhile basketball rival played footage of him loading a 12-pack of water into a car, commiserating with constituents, and helping clean up a flooded home over the weekend.
“Señor Fraud also invited cameras to shoot him helping someone remove carpet from a house that suffered water damage,” Kimmel said, imagining the reunion when Cruz welcomed home Heidi and the girls: “How was the vacation? You have fun? I was in a parking lot pretending to pass out Dasani bottles.”
The senator’s damage control tour included a second segment with Sean Hannity on Fox News since his brief stay south of the border. On Monday night, as he did last week, Hannity promoted the debunked narrative that Cruz intended a quick turnaround all along and wasn’t shamed into cutting short a family vacation during a crisis.
“You dropped off your daughters in Mexico. You came home in a day, probably less than a day, and here you have this scandal,” Hannity said. “You’re like 24/7 because you dropped somebody off and you came back home. I still think you can be a father and a senator at the same time.”
Hannity contrasted that to a “cover-up” on other networks that he said – falsely – have ignored allegations that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo downplayed the number of Covid-19 deaths in nursing homes last year
“Where’s the proportionality from the mob and the media?” Hannity said.
Cruz embraced that spin, agreeing that he has suffered more coverage and opprobrium than he deserves.
“You’re right,” he said. “I think the media is suffering from Trump withdrawal… They don’t know what to do, so they obsess over my taking my girls to the beach.”
Washington correspondent Tom Benning contributed to this report