‘Flyin’ Ted’ and the Texan weather crisis

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Since the Capitol uprising on 6th January, Ted Cruz has been making a new name for himself with another spell of “incompetence”, according to a former aide. As Texas was facing one of the worst snow blizzards in over a decade, with mass power outages and temperatures of -18°C (-0.4°F), the Texan Senator decided to book a last-minute trip with his wife and two children to Cancun, Mexico.

Cancun is a popular destination for many American spring breakers, with temperatures as high as 29°C at this time of year. The move had created an uproar amongst many politicians and Texans alike, with the name ‘flying Ted’ dubbed on many outlets, a name that was even trending on Twitter.

After the initial reports, the Republican senator returned just ten hours after landing in Mexico, stating that in hindsight he “wouldn’t have done it”. Cruz also justified the trip, saying that his daughters had persuaded him to go and that he was “trying to be a dad.” The defence was criticised by many, with the Texas Democratic Party calling on Cruz’s resignation.

Texas was facing mass power outages and temperatures of -18°C.

The backlash did not stop there, as protesters gathered outside the senator’s $2 million home demanding that “Cancun Cruz must resign”. Despite heavy criticism from both sides of the political spectrum, the senator showed no intent on resigning. Many analysts believe the repercussions are unlikely to be felt for a long time, if at all, given that the Republican would not be up for re-election until 2024.

Millions of Texans have been without any safe water and around 28,000 have no electricity. To make things worse, Texas’s governor, Greg Abbott, decided to make the crisis a political issue, claiming that this “shows how the Green New Deal would be a deadly deal for the United States”.

His comments came after reports that frozen wind turbines had contributed to grid power loss despite wind shutdowns had only accounted for 13% of the outages and the loss of power from frozen coal-fired and natural gas plants was six times larger.

President Biden declared Texas a major disaster, potentially unlocking aid to tackle the problem of 78,000 homes still without power. The declaration has so far been a start for the lone star state, granting temporary housing, home repairs and low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses.

Cruz also justified the trip, saying that his daughters had persuaded him to go.

However, the provisions have only been made available to individuals in 77 of the 254 counties. Many politicians have called on all counties to be provided with funds during this dark time. It seems that in order to prevent more deaths and the crisis worsening, funding from the Federal Government would be paramount.

Image: Gage Skidmore via Creative Commons

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