HOUSTON, TX – In what many have criticized as a “photo op” done in order to rehab his damaged image, Senator Ted Cruz (R) tweeted out pictures of himself Saturday handing out bottled water to Texans impacted by state’s ongoing severe winter storm with the hashtag #TexasStrong.
Cruz did not state in the tweet where or when the pictures were taken, but given the backgrounds in the pictures which appeared to be large, nearly completely empty parking lot, leading many to speculate if the event was staged merely to help fix the Senator’s reputation, which was damaged after he flew with his family to Cancun, Mexico last week while his state was in the midst of a record-breaking winter storm that – at its peak – left millions without power, heat, food, or safe drinking water. At least 30 people have died so far.
Following intensely negative media coverage of his trip, bipartisan criticism from politicians, and backlash from his constituents, Cruz quickly traveled back to Texas the very next day; he would later tell reporters that the trip “was obviously a mistake, and in hindsight I wouldn’t have done it.”
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Cruz initially claimed that the trip was planned long in advance and that he was merely chaperoning his two daughters with plans to return the next day; however, text messages obtained by the New York Times suggest that the trip was a hastily-planed last-second decision involving the entire family and that a more extended stay was originally intended.
Many saw Cruz posting pictures of himself this weekend on social media handing out water as an attempt to make up for his gaffe and more of a “staged” display of “fake compassion” aimed at boosting his damaged public image.
“I’m glad someone in Ted Cruz’s Senate office finally instructed him on how to fake compassion, humanity, and creating the illusion that he cares about the people he was elected to serve,” one Twitter user said.
Another person tweeted: “First you abandon your constituents, now they are crisis photo opps to you? Do you have any shame at all @tedcruz?”