Eddie Mair 4pm - 7pm
Ted Cruz admits Cancún break during Texas winter storms
18 February 2021, 16:53 | Updated: 18 February 2021, 20:18
Texas senator Ted Cruz has admitted flying to Cancún for a family during winter storms which have left millions in the state without power.
The senior Republican said he was "wanting to be a good dad" by flying with his daughter last night and returning today to continue the emergency response.
"My staff and I are in constant communication with state and local leaders to get to the bottom of what happened in Texas," Mr Cruz said.
"We want our power back, our water on, and our homes warm."
He was spotted at Houston airport on Wednesday afternoon ahead of a holiday "at a resort he has visited before", US media reports suggest.
He was pictured with his wife Heidi and their two daughters days after a disaster was declared in the state as its residents suffer the fiercest winter in decades.
Rolling power cuts are in place as energy companies struggle to cope with demand, with temperatures dropping as low as -13C.
The storm has swept parts of the southern US over the past week, killing at least 21 people and leaving millions without electricity, heating or water.
The National Weather Service says an Arctic air mass had spread southwards, well beyond areas accustomed to freezing weather.
The extraordinary event has not only impacted humans, with thousands of cold-stunned sea turtles rescued by residents so far.
There are trucks with dozens of turtles needing "every 15 minutes or less", according to South Padre Island Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director Ed Caum.
Spokespersons for Mr Cruz's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Mr Cruz's office has declined to release any details about the family holiday, but his staff reached out to the Houston Police Department on Wednesday afternoon to say the senator would be arriving at the airport, according to department spokeswoman Jodi Silva.
The two-term senator's current term expires in early 2025.