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Kamis, 18 Februari 2021

Texas senator Ted Cruz travels to Mexico as winter storm leaves millions of Texans without power, clean water - ABC News

Texas senator Ted Cruz is under fire after flying to Mexico for a family holiday as his home state battled through a winter storm which has left millions of people without power or safe drinking water.

But the 50-year-old Republican politician cut his trip short after his travels were reported.

He stopped briefly in the resort city of Cancun to speak to media on his way back out of Mexico.

"With school cancelled for the week, our girls asked to take a trip with friends," Mr Cruz said.

"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."

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Mr Cruz, viewed as a potential presidential candidate in 2024, faced calls to resign from Democrats after photos on social media showed him in an airport line, in a passenger lounge, aboard a plane and leaving an airport in Mexico.

"Cruz is emblematic of what the Texas Republican Party and its leaders have become: weak, corrupt, inept and self-serving politicians who don't give a damn about the people they were elected to represent."

State Republican Party chairman Allen West said Mr Cruz would have to answer to voters about his decision to leave the state during the emergency.

"That's something that he has to answer to his constituents about," Mr West said.

"I'm here trying to take care of my family and look after my friends and others that are still without power ... that's my focus."

Millions of Texans remain paralysed by power and water outages after a winter storm, as freezing temperatures hampered efforts to restore full power.

Hundreds of thousands of people in Texas woke up on Thursday to a fourth day without power, and a water crisis was unfolding after storms damaged the state's power grid and utilities.

US President Joe Biden declared an emergency in the state earlier this week, which means the state is receiving more federal aid to assist response efforts.

Texas officials ordered 7 million people — one-quarter of the population of the second largest US state — to boil tap water before drinking it, after days of record low temperatures that damaged infrastructure and froze pipes.

Sparse traffic on a Texas highway covered in snow.
Vulnerable communities remain isolated, with frozen roads impassable.(AP: Brett Coomer)

In Austin, some hospitals faced a loss in water pressure and in some cases, heat.

Vulnerable communities were isolated, with frozen roads still impassable.

"Everyone in public service can do like the people of Texas are doing right now in helping one another," Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said when asked about Mr Cruz's trip.

Mr Cruz, who ran unsuccessfully for president in 2016, won re-election to the Senate in 2018 by beating Democrat Beto O'Rourke by less than three percentage points.

He is not due to run again until 2024.

"Guess which US Senator from Texas flew to Cancun while the state was freezing to death and having to boil water?" tweeted Gene Wu, a Democrat in the Texas House of Representatives, along with a photo of Mr Cruz wearing a mask on the plane.

Reuters/AP

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2021-02-18 20:34:00Z
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