Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) was named the ranking member of the Senate Commerce subcommittee on aviation Friday – just one day after he flew back from a short-lived trip to Cancún that morphed into a major scandal due to the crisis gripping his state.
Cruz was already the top Republican on the committee last session, though he dropped from chairman to ranking member after Democrats narrowly took control of the Senate last month, with Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) swapping places with him.
Cruz ignited the internet on Wednesday evening when photos emerged on social media of him boarding a flight to Cancún, Mexico, even as his state is in the grips of a severe power crisis.
Though his office was initially silent on the trip, Cruz eventually came clean to planning to spend the weekend in Mexico after his home lost power and said he had “second thoughts” immediately upon boarding the flight, though he defended it as taking care of his family like “every Texan.”
The story dominated the Thursday news cycle and proved a damaging scandal for Cruz, with even the typically staid White House criticizing him for leaving his state in the grips of blackouts and the Texas Democratic Party calling on him to resign.
The trip also earned him a new, derisive nickname from commentators: “Flyin’ Ted,” an apt moniker for his subcommittee role.
The committee oversees the Federal Aviation Administration, as well as “civil aviation research, development, and demonstration, and aviation safety and protection of consumers.”
Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), the chair of the Senate Commerce Committee, said in a statement the new Commerce subcommittee appointments will “help us meet the needs of the American people” and “aggressively tackle” the economic challenges facing the country.
200,000. That’s how many Texans were still without power as of Friday morning, with 14 million residents still facing boil water orders, according to NBC News.
Cruz’s wife Heidi attempted to recruit friends to join them on the trip to escape their “FREEZING” home, according to texts obtained by the New York Times, which touted the $309-per-night cost and good security of the rooms.