U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz returned home from his Cancun, Mexico, trip after just 24 hours because of the intense backlash he received for leaving his state of Texas during an emergency as people are suffering without power and water in freezing temperatures.
The Republican’s actions fueled a number of jokes on last night’s late-night shows. “Jimmy Kimmel Live” host, Jimmy Kimmel, was relentless in his opening monologue.
“While his fellow Texans are freezing with the power out, Ted Cruz did what any great leader would do when a state needs leadership most,” he said. “He booked a flight to Mexico and said, ‘Adios, amigos.’”
“And where was Mr. Texas while his constituents are suffering?” Kimmel continued. “Well, there he is, snake on a plane right there! Headed, ironically, to the very place he tried to build a wall around.”
“The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah said during his monologue, “One poor Texan had to travel 800 miles just to get heat, water and electricity.”
“I’m not even mad that you were selfish,” Noah added. “I’m mad that you were so stupid. How can you be in politics for 10 years and still have no idea how bad this would make you look?”
On Thursday afternoon, Cruz told reporters his short vacation was “a mistake” and he’s back in Texas to help the millions of residents who are suffering amid power outages.
“In hindsight, I wouldn’t have done it,” Cruz told reporters. “I was trying to be a dad and all of us have made decisions, when you have two girls who have been cold for two days and haven’t had heat or power and they’re saying, ‘Hey look, we don’t have school, let’s get out of here.'”
Videos and photos of Cruz and his wife, Heidi, boarding the plane to Mexico first surfaced on social media on Wednesday evening.
“With school cancelled for the week, our girls asked to take a trip with friends,” Cruz said in a statement. “Wanting to be a good dad, I flew down with them last night 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 safe.”
Nearly 185,000 homes and businesses remained without power in Texas according to poweroutage.us early Friday.
The storms also left more than 335,000 from Virginia to Louisiana without power and about 71,000 in Oregon were still enduring a weeklong outage following a massive ice and snowstorm.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.