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It feels like it's been at least a full decade since Ted Cruz decided to deal with the severe winter storm that hit Texas by stretching out on a king-size featherbed at the Ritz-Carlton in Cancun, Mexico. In reality, it's only been seven days since Cruz changed his airline reservation and returned to the U.S. to casually blame his two pre-teen daughters for his $309-per-night bad decision.
Despite the widespread criticism that Cruz received for his brief Texit, he hasn't faced any real repercussions for it. Suggesting that a sitting senator shouldn't trade his constituents—some who died trying to heat their frigid homes—for an oceanfront hotel room isn't "being an asshole." There's nothing wrong with holding public servants accountable for, you know, not serving anyone but themselves during a statewide emergency. That's why some Texans have taken it upon themselves to remind Cruz that what he did wasn't cool. "I don't blame anyone wanting to go to Mexico to ride out the cold," Houston resident Bryan Hlavinka told VICE. "I was just in Mexico in January. I love Mexico. What I do not get down with is an elected official leaving his constituency during a crisis. Everyone knows Ted Cruz is an asshole who demonstrably only cares about his own interests." It's zero percent surprising that Cruz has spent this week making conservative-friendly media appearances, shifting his approach to blame the resulting controversy on the media, critics of former President Donald Trump, and on whichever member of his wife's group chat dropped a dime on her. "Where they’ve attacked Trump every day for four years, they don’t know what to do so they obsess over my taking my girls to the beach,” he whined to Sean Hannity on Monday. On Tuesday, he was a guest on the conservative podcast Ruthless, where he basically told everyone to stop being mean to him. "Here’s a suggestion. Just don’t be assholes," he said. "Just, you know, treat each other as human beings, have to some degree some modicum of respect.”
Cruz also added that his wife was "pretty pissed" at whichever member of the "[Redacted] Lovelies" group chat shared her "Anyone want to leave for the week?" text messages with the media. (And—a quick aside—it's hilarious that Cruz went all "don't be assholes" on this particular podcast. Ruthless was launched by Mitch McConnell's former Chief of Staff shortly after Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg's death; its logo is the word 'RUTHLESS' printed over the U.S. Supreme Court Building.) Weirdly, he didn't mention the reception that the family received when they got back to their swish suburban home. When Hlavinka's friend Jenny Slater posted on Facebook to ask whether any Texans could help her hire a mariachi band to show Cruz "how sad we are that his Mexican vacation got cut short," he jumped at the chance. "[She and I] both work in marketing and live event production, so I took this on as the first event I produced in months," he said. "Jenny was the brains behind this, I just made it happen." That he did: on Sunday afternoon, the Mariachi Mi Mexico band assembled in front of Cruz' home and played for an hour, providing the soundtrack for an already-scheduled protest that had been organized by Houston United Front Against Fascism (HUFAF). "I was worried about taking eyes off their protest, but we all blended in with each other pretty well," Hlavinka said.
"We just wanted as many eyes on the mariachi band as we could get, and the visual of being in front of Ted Cruz's house with an undeniably peaceful, absurd style of protest was too good to pass up. There isn't some magic division between the River Oaks [neighborhood] and the rest of Houston like everyone pretends there is. That sidewalk is just as good as any other to play on."That idea was so good that a second Texas man tried to organize a fundraiser to send mariachi musicians straight to the Cruz's front door, but he called it off after Hlavinka's band arrived. "I created the [GoFundMe] mostly to make fun of Ted Cruz and the sheer hypocrisy that just like so many parents he decided to cross the border—in the other direction—to find safety," Adam Jama told VICE. "Like Cruz, I have a parent that fled Cuba. Unlike Cruz, those crossing the border come without airplane tickets or 5 star hotel reservations and [with] the desire to work and give their children a better life." (Jama says that all the money contributed to his GoFundMe will now be donated to the Texas Children's Hospital.) And a Dallas party supply store has also gotten in on the Cruz-related LULZ. According to the Dallas Morning News, ABC Party is now taking orders for a Ted Cruz piñata, one that's accessorized with a Texas flag face mask, a passport, and a suitcase. "After all we’ve been [going] through, we needed a laugh,” owner Carlos De La Fuente said. “Something to give us hope and something to give us relief after six days of miserable weather and people going through bad situations.”That was part of Hlavinka's motivation too. "I do want to say that I did this because it was funny," he said. "No one got hurt. We made people laugh. Ted Cruz hopefully feels the shame he should. Seems pretty win-win."