A week after stirring outrage over taking an ill-fated trip to Mexico during a deadly winter weather disaster in his home state, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz took the stage at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando on Friday and kicked off his speech with a joke.
"Orlando is awesome," Cruz said. "It's not as nice as Cancún. But it's nice."
Cruz, a possible presidential contender in 2024, had been asked to speak at CPAC prior to the Cancún controversy to address "cancel culture." His appearance came on the same day President Biden traveled to Houston to meet with emergency responders and food bank volunteers.
Last week, Cruz flew to the Mexico resort amid freezing temperatures in Texas that caused the near collapse of the state's power grid, which led to widespread outages that resulted in dozens of deaths.
The senator was spotted boarding a flight from Houston to Cancún that Wednesday night. By Thursday morning, photos posted to social media of Cruz's casual escape from the weather had sparked bipartisan outrage.
Cruz released a statement saying that daughters wanted to go and he simply wanted "to be a good dad."
"With school canceled for the week, our girls asked to take a trip with friends," Cruz said. "Wanting to be a good dad, I flew down with them last night.
"My staff and I are in constant communication with state and local leaders to get to the bottom of what happened in Texas," he added. "We want our power back, our water on and our homes warm."
Cruz flew back to Houston later that afternoon.
Upon his return, he acknowledged that the trip had been "a mistake" and insisted that he realized it the minute he got on the plane.
"I was trying to take care of my family," Cruz told Houston’s ABC affiliate. "I was trying to take care of my kids. It's unfortunate, the firestorm that came from it. It was not my intention in saying yes to my daughters to somehow diminish all the Texans that were going through real hardship."
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