He did what?

Senator Ted Cruz was by no means on anyone’s shortlist for the Most Empathetic Politician award. However his newest show startled even essentially the most jaded political fingers.

With Cruz’s house state, Texas, buffeted by a snowstorm that has prompted widespread energy failures and claimed dozens of lives nationwide, Cruz received on a aircraft final evening and flew to Cancún, Mexico, for a household trip. Photographs started circulating on social media this morning, accompanied by a refrain of dismay and mock.

Early this afternoon he launched a press release saying that his children had wished to take a trip and arguing that he was nonetheless capable of work from overseas. “Desirous to be dad, I flew down with them final evening and am flying again this afternoon,” he mentioned, including that he deliberate to come back house immediately.

Later, after he arrived again in america, Cruz mentioned the journey was “clearly a mistake” and mentioned he had begun “second-guessing” it as quickly as he received on the aircraft to Mexico.

I known as up a number of crisis-communications professionals who’ve labored with different embattled politicians to get their tackle the Cruz fiasco. All of them sang some variation on the identical theme: simply wow.

“You may just about do injury management for something, and I feel he may do injury management for this,” mentioned Lis Smith, a Democratic strategist who labored on Pete Buttigieg’s presidential marketing campaign final yr. Nonetheless, she added: “It’s important to marvel what the hell was he considering doing this. The optics of this might not be a lot worse.”

Stu Loeser, the longtime press secretary for former Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York — who usually took discreet trips to Bermuda whereas in workplace — was additionally amazed by Cruz’s resolution to fly the coop at one in every of his state’s most susceptible moments in current reminiscence.

Credit score…Reuters

“The toughest half in politics and the toughest half in disaster communications is similar factor: with the ability to predict the longer term,” Loeser mentioned. “However on this case, folks have been with out energy for days. You knew what would occur.”

Risa Heller, a disaster guide who suggested the disgraced former Representative Anthony Weiner, mentioned that even in a fast-moving, 24-hour information cycle, Cruz’s resolution to undergo along with his trip might be onerous to stay down. “It’s going to stick with him for a very long time,” she mentioned. “Of us in Texas are usually not going to neglect {that a} man who they elected to look out for his or her pursuits went on a trip at their darkest time.”

She added: “Generally somebody goes out of city and one thing loopy occurs they usually have to come back again. You may say, ‘I perceive that.’ However this isn’t that. This storm occurred after which he left. It sends an actual message to his constituents. I assume time will inform in the event that they’ll forgive him, nevertheless it’s fairly unforgivable.”

The Republican strategist Joel Sawyer helped former Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina climate the 2009 scandal over his secret holidays with a paramour, which practically ended his political profession. (He finally accomplished his time period as governor and later regained his outdated seat within the Home.) Sawyer mentioned that after Sanford left the governor’s mansion, he labored to restore his reputation by providing contrition.

Sawyer wasn’t so positive Cruz had it in him to do the identical. “Sure, he can do injury management, nevertheless it’s going require nice humility on his half,” he mentioned. “I’m unsure how a lot of that Ted Cruz can muster.”

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