New text messages unravel Ted Cruz's explanation for his family Cancún trip while Texas is freezing
- New text messages reviewed by Insider appear to show planning for Sen. Ted Cruz's trip to Mexico.
- Heidi Cruz seems to have rallied neighbors to join them in flying to Cancún.
- "There is a direct flight at 445pm and hotels with capacity. Seriously," one text says.
A series of new text messages appear to show Sen. Ted Cruz's wife, Heidi Cruz, talking to neighbors about a getaway to Cancún, Mexico, this week as Texas endured freezing temperatures and widespread power outages.
The text messages do not mention Cruz's stated explanation for the trip, which he pinned to his daughters' request for a getaway during a school break. The New York Times said it confirmed the messages' authenticity through communications with two people on the thread. Insider also obtained the messages but could not independently corroborate their authenticity.
In a group chat with a name referring to the street the Cruz family lives on, Heidi Cruz appeared to take an active role in planning the getaway. In one text, a contact identified in screenshots with her name said her family was staying with a neighbor who had power and then suggested a trip to Cancún.
"Is everyone warm? That's a must! We could all huddle in one house, [name's] had heat," the text said. "Anyone can or want to leave for the week? We may go to Cancun, there is a direct flight at 445pm and hotels with capacity. Seriously."
In a later text, the contact identified in screenshots as Heidi Cruz told the group, "the Ritz Carlton has rooms at like $300 and we've been there many times great property god security etc no issues," adding: "I'll confirm on the covid we need to call the hotel this am to confirm that but you just test when you arrive as needs to be 3days before return."
Another group member asks who the sender is.
"Heidi Cruz," the sender replied.
In one of the images provided to Insider, the number identified as Heidi Cruz sent information for United Flight 1020 leaving Houston at 4:45 p.m. on Wednesday, returning to Houston on United Flight 1019 on Sunday.
Insider reached out to Ted Cruz's office and called Heidi Cruz for comment. Subsequent questions sent from Insider via text message to a number for Heidi Cruz were left on "read."
A previous report confirmed that before his swift return to Houston, Cruz headed to the Ritz Carlton in Cancún.
The senator was lambasted Thursday after photos of him at the airport heading to Cancún on Wednesday afternoon surfaced and spread through social media.
Facing an onslaught of criticism for his decision to flee Texas as the state contended with a deadly winter storm, Cruz returned home less than 24 hours after he departed.
He offered several explanations for how the trip came about, initially saying in a written statement that his daughters asked for the trip and that he agreed "to be a good dad."
Speaking with reporters on Thursday evening, he said "the plan had been to stay through the weekend with the family."
The Skift reporter Edward Russell reported that Cruz contacted United Airlines to change his flight from Saturday to Thursday afternoon.
Protesters reportedly gathered outside the Cruz home Thursday evening, chanting "Hey, hey, Ho ho, Ted Cruz has got to go," and "Resign."
—Julian Gill (@JulianGillMusic) February 18, 2021
On Thursday night, he told reporters outside his home that the decision to go to Mexico was "obviously a mistake."
—The Recount (@therecount) February 19, 2021
According to the CBS News producer Sara Cook, Cruz said he started having second thoughts from "the moment I sat down on the plane."
"Leaving when so many people were hurting didn't feel right and so I changed my flight to come back today," Cruz said.
—Sara Cook (@saraecook) February 18, 2021
"When it became more and more of a firestorm it became all the more compelling that I needed to come back," he added.
Still, Cruz managed to continue deflecting some of the blame, according to Cook. He again said his daughters wanted to go somewhere warm, and added: "We're in a strange time where Twitter is going crazy and the media is going crazy."
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