On Thursday, Senator Ted Cruz was seen in the Cancún International Airport, hopping on a flight back to Houston after his apparent plans for a little vacation — as a massive, weather-related crisis engulfed his state — reached the media. On Saturday, Cruz was seen (in images he tweeted) shaking hands and loading water bottles into cars in Texas. Maybe you are asking yourself: What is this man doing outside his home 36 to 48 hours after returning to the U.S. from another country, in the middle of a pandemic? Shouldn’t he be in quarantine right now?
If so, you wouldn’t be the only one wondering. As Business Insider reports, the pictures were taken in a largely empty parking lot, but Cruz still managed to get some physical contact in there — which (as Jezebel notes) could theoretically escalate the coronavirus transmission risk for everyone involved.
To many, the display looks like a bid to rehab the senator’s image: When Cruz fled to the Ritz-Carlton Cancún last Wednesday, a deadly winter storm had already downed Texas’s power grid, leaving millions without water, heat, or access to potable water as pipes burst. At least 58 people have been confirmed dead so far. Shortly after news of the getaway broke, Cruz offered that he had been dropping off his daughters, who wanted to go on a vacation because school had been canceled. He suggested that it had always been his plan to return the next day, although his original flight itinerary reportedly had him out of town into the weekend. As the saga unfolded, New York representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez launched a fundraiser that wound up raising millions in relief funds, and flew to Texas on Saturday to volunteer at the Houston Food Bank.
All of which to say: For Cruz, the optics are … not good. Disastrous, even! And arguably not improved by his defiance of public-health protocol. As scientist and MacArthur fellow Peter Gleick — along with a number of others — pointed out on Twitter, a trip to Mexico merits a minimum of seven days in quarantine, plus a negative COVID-19 test within three to five days of arrival back in the U.S., at least per CDC guidelines.
So, to answer your original question: Yes, this man should be in his house right now, holed up with his vast trove of canned soups. He definitely should not be helping to prepare and serve food to large teams of first responders, considering that the state’s crisis is ongoing, and yet here we are. Maddening to think that all of this could be avoided if Cruz would just stay home!