(CNN) — Texas GOP Rep. Michael McCaul on Sunday delivered a pointed rebuke of Sen. Ted Cruz following his much-criticized trip to Cancun, Mexico, as a winter disaster rocked Texas last week.
“Look, when a crisis hits my state, I’m there. I’m not going to go on some vacation,” McCaul, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs committee, told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union” Sunday.
“I know Mr. Cruz called it a mistake and he’s owned up to that, but I think that was a big mistake and as for me, I was on the ground trying to help my people out and my constituents, and that’s what we should be doing in a time of crisis,” he added.
McCaul’s comments join a raft of disapproval aimed at Cruz since he was spotted on a plane headed to Cancun while millions in his home state were left without power or water. After returning to Houston on Thursday afternoon, Cruz told reporters outside his home it was “obviously a mistake” and that “in hindsight I wouldn’t have done it.”
“I started having second thoughts almost the moment I sat down on the plane, because on the one hand, all of us who are parents have a responsibility to take care of our kids, take care of our family. That’s something Texans have been doing across the state,” said Cruz, who had said in an earlier statement that he flew to Mexico because his daughters had asked to take a trip and he was trying to be a “good dad.”
As an official elected to federal office, Cruz doesn’t have an on-the-ground role in the response to the storm, but natural disasters are often a time in which constituents reach out to their elected officials for help and access to resources.
While Cruz navigated the fallout of his trip, two of his Democratic political adversaries — Beto O’Rourke and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — raised money and offered resources to Texans hit hard by the winter storm.
Ocasio-Cortez, a Democratic congresswoman from New York, launched a fundraiser, with her press secretary saying Sunday she’d raised nearly $5 million for Texans affected by the storm. And O’Rourke, who unsuccessfully challenged Cruz for Senate in 2018, ran a virtual phone bank to contact senior citizens in Texas, to connect them with resources during the disaster.
McCaul praised their work Sunday, saying, “I think it’s great that they’re crossing party lines to help Americans first, and not just Republican or Democrats.”
“And I think that’s, you know, the way it really should be.”