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Ted Cruz jetted to Cancun amid widespread Texas power outages

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UPDATED AT 2:15 PM (EST)

As a deadly snowstorm has left nearly 500,000 Texans without power as of Thursday, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R) flew to the Mexican beach town of Cancun with his family this week, Fox News has confirmed.

Late on Wednesday, images of the Texas Republican at an airport began floating around online, with people claiming that he had left the Lone Star State for Cancun in the midst of the deadly crisis. At least 30 people have died across the country due to the winter storm, according to the Associated Press.

Once knowledge of his trip became public, Cruz put out a statement explaining that he was chaperoning his daughters and their friends on their trip to Mexico.

“This has been an infuriating week for Texans,” Cruz wrote in a statement.

“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,” he continued.

“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.

A Republican source had told Fox News on Thursday that the claims that Cruz was flying to the beach town were true.

“The photos speak for themselves,” the source said, according to Fox.

One source directly familiar with the situation had earlier told the Associated Press that the trip to Cancun was long-planned and that Cruz was expected to return almost immediately. According to The New York Post, Cruz’s flight back to Houston is expected to arrive at 3:47 p.m. local time on Thursday.

Moreover, Jake Sherman of Punchbowl News reported earlier on Thursday that an individual seeming to be Cruz has a ticket from Cancun to Houston later on Thursday. The first three letters of their last name are “CRU,” and the first letter of their first name is “R.” Cruz’s actual first name is Raphael, while Ted is a nickname.

Cruz’s office did not respond to SaraACarter.com’s request for comment.

“That’s something that he has to answer to his constituents about,” Texas Republican Party Chairman Allen West said, according to the Associated Press, when asked whether the senator’s travel was appropriate while Texans are without power and water.

“I’m here trying to take care of my family and look after my friends and others that are still without power,” West said. “That’s my focus.”

Meanwhile, Cruz acknowledged how dire the situation in Texas is in a Tuesday tweet, in response to people accusing him of hypocrisy for mocking California during its 2019 power outages.

“I’ve got no defense,” he wrote, followed with a shrugging emoji. “A blizzard strikes Texas & our state shuts down. Not good.”

On Thursday, Cruz also heaped praise onto a furniture store owner, Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale, who let over 1,000 people seek refuge in his store amid the power outages, according to FOX 26 in Houston.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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EXCLUSIVE: Former Trump appointee explains an ‘America First Strategy’ in the ME

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Screen Shot 2024 03 13 at 9.50.09 AM
Photo: Israeli Government

The author interviewed Ellie Cohanim, one of the authors of the new book: “An America First Approach to US National Security.” Ellie is the former U.S. Deputy Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism under the Trump administration. She is currently a Senior Fellow with the Independent Women’s Forum focusing on Iran, Israel, and global antisemitism, and is a national security contributor for the Christian Broadcasting Network. In 2021, Ellie launched and hosted for Jewish News Syndicate 30 plus episodes of the show “Global Perspectives with Ellie Cohanim.” Ellie spent 15 years in media and NGO management before serving in the public sector. How would you define an “America First” strategy in the Middle East?

Cohanim: An America First strategy in the Middle East would seek to advance American national security interests in that region, while maintaining our status as THE global superpower. To do that, the US would ensure that our principal allies in the region, countries like Saudi Arabia and Israel, are economically and militarily strong, and that our adversaries in the region are deterred.

Postal: How has the United States’ standing in the Middle East differed between the Trump and Biden administrations?

Cohanim: Under President Trump, for four years we had peace, stability and prosperity in the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region. Under President Biden, in just three tumultuous years there has been war in the region, which holds the potential for becoming a regional conflict and even a nuclear confrontation. Meanwhile, the US’ status in the region and the world has diminished due to Biden’s disastrous mishandling of the Afghanistan withdrawal, his emboldening of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and his weak response to Iranian attacks on our personnel and assets in the region. 

 

Postal: Do you think the United States and Israel are/were in a stronger position to deter Iran’s nuclear and territorial ambitions in Biden or Trump’s administration?

Cohanim: America’s position of strength has not changed under either administration vis-à-vis the Islamic Republic of Iran. What has changed is our Iran policy. Under President Trump’s administration, the US contained and constrained Tehran. Trump applied a “Maximum Pressure” sanctions campaign which left the Iranian Regime with only $4 billion in accessible foreign currency reserves by the end of his term, giving the Iranians less cash and less ability to fund their terror proxies and their nuclear program, and Trump eliminated Qassem Soleimani. While all President Biden needed to do was to continue implementing such successful policies, his administration instead did the exact opposite.  Under the Biden administration, Israel, our leading ally in the region, was attacked for the first time directly from Iranian soil. This was an unprecedented escalatory attack by the Iranian regime, and could only happen under the Biden administration.

Postal: In your chapter of the book, you discuss the weakening of US relations with Israel and Saudi Arabia under the Biden administration. How has the Biden administration affected the likelihood of future normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia, and deals between Israel and other Muslim countries (i.e., new Abraham Accords)?

Cohanim: The good news is that the Abraham Accords have withstood the test of multiple Hamas provocations against Israel, and now the current war. Despite numerous claims from the Biden administration regarding “successful” efforts to normalize ties between Saudi Arabia and Israel, I do not think that the Biden administration will be able to clinch such a deal. In the Middle East, people have a long memory. Saudi Arabia’s de-facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) has not forgotten President Biden’s snub when he first came into office, and Biden’s incredibly poorly advised behavior towards the Crown Prince when he made his first visit to the Kingdom as president. The last thing the Crown Prince wants is to hand Biden his first foreign policy success with a Rose Garden peace deal ceremony. So, I do not believe President Biden can broker Saudi/Israeli normalization.

However, I am also convinced that it is a matter of “when” and not “if” such a peace deal will happen between those two countries, as it serves both of their interests to make such a deal. The Saudis understand better than anyone that it is the Islamic Republic of Iran that threatens the Kingdom’s security and stability, not Israel.

Postal: What do you think of the Biden administration’s latest statements withholding arms to Israel?

Cohanim: President Biden will go down in history for his abject moral failure in not standing by Israel while she fights a five-front war. Biden has shown his despicable personality for trying to keep his anti-Israel arms embargo concealed until he could first deliver a speech on the Holocaust. Biden’s behavior is despicable on so many levels.

Ultimately, Biden is betraying the American people. He came into office presenting himself as a “centrist Democrat,” but has proven repeatedly to be beholden to the radical, extremist, pro-Hamas wing of his party.

Postal: How does the Biden administration’s support of a Palestinian state differ from the Trump administration’s support of a Palestinian state under its Peace to Prosperity framework?

Cohanim: The Biden administration stated that they will “unilaterally recognize” a Palestinian state. What the borders of that state are and who would lead it, nobody knows. 

The Trump administration’s “Peace to Prosperity” was a detailed plan that was premised on the realities on the ground in Israel. The plan required that the Palestinians reach benchmarks proving a real desire to live in peace with their Israeli neighbors. It included over $50 billion in investment in the region, which would have been a road to prosperity for all. Perhaps most significantly, the Palestinian state envisioned under the Trump plan would have been demilitarized, the wisdom of which could not be more clear following the October 7 massacre and attack.

The author would like to thank Ellie Cohanim for participating in this interview.

 

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