Texas Republican Slams Ted Cruz's Cancun Trip, as Second GOP Lawmaker Under Fire for Fleeing State

Texas Republican State Representative Jeff Leach has called out Senator Ted Cruz for flying to Cancun, Mexico, amid the ongoing winter storm that left millions without power and heat in freezing temperatures. Meanwhile, a second Texas Republican is facing backlash for leaving the state on Wednesday as his constituents endured the crisis.

In a Friday appearance on CNN, Leach said he was "not happy about" Cruz's trip and urged elected officials in the state to "show up and be present."

"I wasn't happy about it and it was a mistake on his part. I'm glad to hear that he admitted last night that it was a mistake when he returned," he said. "I'll tell you this, in this country right now, we've got a lot of challenges. But I believe that the biggest problem in this country to address is the lack of trust that people have in their elected officials and their policy makers at all levels."

Ted Cruz at Cancun airport
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) checks in for a flight at Cancun International Airport after a backlash over his Mexican family vacation as his home state of Texas endured a Winter storm on February 18, 2021 in Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico. MEGA/GC/Getty

He added: "It's important for us to show up, to be present, such a big part of leadership is to be present, and as state representative for over 200,000 people here just north of Dallas, I'm here, I'm present, I'm on the ground, I'm available. I work for the people, not the other way around. They're the boss, not the other way around. It's important for us as policymakers to show up for work and do our jobs."

Newsweek reached out to Cruz's office for comment.

As Cruz arrived back to his Houston home on Thursday, he was met by angry protesters, gathered in the cold chanting for his resignation.

"Look, it was obviously a mistake," the Texas senator said. "In hindsight, I wouldn't have done it. I was trying to be a dad. And all of us have made decisions, when you've got 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, why don't we go, let's get out of here.' I think there are a lot of parents that would be like, 'If I can do this, great.' That's what I wanted to do."

Meanwhile, Texas State GOP Representative Gary Gates has also come under fire for leaving his constituents of House District 28 for Orlando. Gates flew out to Florida on his private jet Wednesday.

Gates defended the trip amid mounting criticism by noting that the pipes at his home had burst prior to the trip. He insisted that he was prioritizing the needs of his immediate family during a time when his home had flooded.

"My wife is still recovering from an illness she has been battling for two weeks, and the room of my adult daughter, who is mentally handicapped and still lives with us, flooded," he said, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Brian Walz, who lives in District 28, reacted to the news about Gates. "It really would have been nice to have a state representative helping on the ground, working at a warming center, packing food, etc. rather than immediately (flying) off on a private plane when the going got tough," Walz told the Chronicle. "My neighbors didn't get to do that when her pipe burst."