Sen. Ted Cruz on Tuesday continued his public apology tour for his heavily criticized trip to Cancún last week amid a crippling power and water crisis across his home state.
But the Texas Republican repeatedly made light of the scandal and complained about his own family’s treatment by members of the media, as well as by neighbors who leaked the contents of a compromising group text chain.
Appearing on an episode of the conservative “Ruthless” podcast, which debuted a month after the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death last year, Cruz said he hadn’t experienced “this much negative press coverage since northern California in the 1960s” — a reference to the joking online insult that the senator is secretly the infamous Zodiac killer.
Cruz also referenced photos that circulated in recent days of his family’s pet dog, named Snowflake, seemingly abandoned at home while his owners absconded to Mexico.
“I spend too much time on Twitter, so I see apparently I’ve literally fed Snowflake to the wolves,” Cruz said, going on to explain that the dog was accompanied by a sitter, “and actually the heat and power was back on.”
Cruz said it was “really creepy” that a reporter captured a picture of his dog forlornly staring out a window, and “even more creepy” that his wife Heidi was photographed on the beach “in her bikini” by paparazzi.
“I will tell you, that she is pissed about. All the rest of it, she’s fine,” Cruz said, adding: “Heidi is smoking hot, so I looked at the pictures and said, ‘Man, you look great.’”
During the 2016 Republican presidential primary, then-candidate Donald Trump memorably threatened to “spill the beans” on Heidi Cruz and tweeted an unflattering photo of her next to a glossy image of his own wife, Melania. The senator condemned the posts at the time, but went on to become one of Trump’s fiercest defenders in Congress after he was elected president.
On Tuesday, Cruz said his wife was also “pretty pissed” that messages from a group text were leaked to The New York Times showing her lamenting the “FREEZING” temperature of their house and suggesting a getaway to the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Cancún.
Cruz said his wife “actually was over to a neighbor’s house yesterday, sort of walking through” the messages. “We’ve got a number of Republicans who are neighbors, but we also have a number of Democrats,” he said.
There were even some “folks on our street who put up Beto signs, which I thought was a little rude,” Cruz said, referring to his 2018 reelection race against former Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke.
“You know, I didn’t, like, hold a victory party on their front yards when we won,” he said.
In another interview Tuesday on conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt’s show, Cruz acknowledged his decision to travel to Cancún “was dumb as hell,” but again sought to place his children at the center of the controversy.
“My kids wanted to get out of there. We had two days with no power,” he said. “And so Heidi and I said yes, and we took them to the beach. And in hindsight, that was obviously a mistake. And ever since then, the media seems to be utterly fixated.”
Pressed on whether either he or his wife ever considered the damaging optics of their trip, Cruz said “it certainly occurred to me that it would look bad and people would criticize it.”
But “at the same time, I’m a dad,” he said. “And our girls are 10 and 12. I’m on the road nonstop.”
Cruz said it was one of his two daughters and her friend who initially “pitched to us and to the friend’s parents: ‘Listen, why are we staying here? Why don’t we go somewhere where there’s power and it’s not freezing?’”
He and his wife were simply “trying to be good parents” when they greenlighted the vacation, Cruz said.
“At the time, I was trying to take care of my family, take care of my kids, which is what Texans were doing all across the state.”
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