Sen. Ted Cruz, R-TX, was caught jetting out of Houston on Wednesday evening to the sunny beaches of Cancun, leaving voters in his home state shivering in the darkness amid a winter storm that has knocked out power for several days. After #CancunCruz began trending on Thursday, however, the Houston Police told ABC News his office confirmed that the Republican senator was rushing back after facing scrutiny for skipping town as his home state stares down a disaster.
Viral photographs began circulating Twitter on Wednesday evening showing the senator in the Houston Airport as well the cabin of an airplane. It wasn't long before social media sleuths matched his mask, glasses, a ring, tennis shoes, and headphones with other photos of the senator.
"The photos speak for themselves," a GOP source told Fox News, all but confirming people's suspicions, releasing a torrent of outrage spanning the ideological spectrum.
David Shuster, a former MSNBC anchor who broke the story, tweeted, "Cruz seems to believe there isn't much for him to do for the millions of fellow Texans who remain without electricity/water and are literally freezing."
"Guess which US Senator from Texas flew to Cancun while the state was freezing to death and having to boil water?" echoed Texas State Rep. Gene Wu, posting a picture of Cruz holding his boarding passes.
Director of the Democratc Coalition Against Trump Scott Dworkin joined the chorus. "Ted Cruz is a traitor," he raged, "Him fleeing to Cancun instead of fighting for Texans is simply more proof."
"When the going gets tough... head to Cancun, baby!" tweeted the now disgraced Republican super PAC the Lincoln Project.
Cruz's office has reportedly gone silent amid the shocking revelations, declining to comment on the Senator's whereabouts. "Cruz's office did not respond to multiple requests for comment on the pictures," said the Houston Chronicle.
According to a flight upgrade list released by Punchbowl News' co-founder Jake Sherman, Cruz may be heading right back right Houston to begin the process of damage control.
The senator's jaunt comes as an Arctic blast has left the Lone Star State crippled for days. Over 2.5 million Texas residents did not have heat or electricity for three days, and around 600,000 are still without access. Over twenty-four people across the South have died as a result of the storm. Many people's pipes have burst in their homes, which has caused flooding. Republican Governor Greg Abbot has asked for out-of-state plumbing assistance, as experts have warned residents that Texas residents' water now runs the risk of being contaminated. Hundreds who have attempted to stay warm by grilling inside or running their cars in the garage have been rushed to hospitals with carbon monoxide poisoning. Three children and their grandmother, who left a fire overnight, died in a house fire.
As Cruz made a run for Cancun, his former 2018 Senate challenger, Beto O'Rourke organized wellness checks for seniors in Texas. "We made over 151,000 calls to senior citizens in Texas tonight. One of our [volunteers] talked to a man stranded at home w/out power in Killeen, hadn't eaten in 2 days, got him a ride to a warming center and a hot meal," the Democrats tweeted Wednesday evening.
Despite the swift criticism and mockery directed at Cruz, some conservative pundits attempted to defend or downplay his decision to leave town during a disaster.