At CPAC, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R) joked Friday about his widely criticized trip to Cancun, Mexico that he made during his home state’s deadly winter storm and the power and water crisis it caused last week.
“God bless CPAC,” the Texas Republican said to cheers.
“I’ve gotta say, Orlando is awesome! It’s not as nice as Cancun,” he joked, with laughs and gasps coming from the crowd.
“But it’s nice,” the senator added, laughing a bit himself.
The massive event for American conservatives, whose location was changed from Washington, D.C. to Orlando, Florida due to COVID-19 restrictions, began Friday morning with remarks from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R). Former President Donald Trump is set to speak on Sunday, the final day of the conference.
Last week, a massive winter storm struck Texas and left millions without power and drinking water. Over 1.4 million Texans, according to The Texas Tribune, still face water disruptions of some sort as of Wednesday.
Cruz was caught on camera at an airport with his wife and 10- and 12-year-old daughters heading for the Mexican resort town of Cancun, which prompted immediate outrage at the senator for leaving his home state as millions suffered from power and water issues.
Once information about the trip became public knowledge, facing a storm of his own back home, he cut his trip short the very next day and issued a statement claiming that he was just chaperoning his daughters and their friends on a trip they wanted to the sunny beach town.
“The greatest state in the greatest country in the world has been without power. We have food lines, gas lines, and people sleeping at the neighbors’ house. Our homes are freezing and our lights are out too. Like millions of Texans, our family lost heat and power, too,” Cruz’s statement read.
“With school cancelled for the week, our girls asked to take a trip with friends. 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,” the senator added.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.
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Rep. Patrick McHenry Announces Retirement, Adding to Congressional Exodus
Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., has declared that he will not seek re-election, becoming the latest in a growing list of lawmakers departing from Congress. McHenry, a close ally of former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, stated that he believes “there is a season for everything,” signaling the end of his tenure in the House. Having served since 2005, McHenry is the 37th member of Congress to announce they won’t seek re-election in 2024.
In a statement, McHenry reflected on the significance of the House of Representatives in the American political landscape, calling it the “center of our American republic.” He acknowledged the concerns about the future of the institution due to multiple departures but expressed confidence that new leaders would emerge and guide the House through its next phase.
The departure of McHenry and others comes against the backdrop of political shifts and challenges within the Republican Party. The GOP has faced setbacks in recent elections, including fallout from the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Internal strife and disagreements, exemplified by the rebellion against McCarthy, have characterized the party’s dynamics. The GOP’s approval rating stands at 30%, with a disapproval rating of 66%, reflecting the challenges and divisions within the party.
As McHenry steps aside, questions loom over the fate of open seats in the upcoming election. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report identifies five open House seats as potential Democrat pickup opportunities, while none are listed for the GOP. The departures raise concerns about the party’s unity and ability to navigate the evolving political landscape.
With a total of 20 departing Democratic legislators and 10 Republicans, the changing composition of Congress adds complexity to the political dynamics leading up to the 2024 elections. As McHenry emphasizes a hopeful view of the House’s future, the evolving political landscape will determine the impact of these departures on the balance of power in Congress.
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