President Joe Biden will travel to Texas on Friday as the state continues to suffer from numerous crises spurred by the recent historic winter storms that sent the region into an arctic chill, the White House announced on Tuesday.
The trip, one of the first domestic travel plans for the new president, comes after millions of Texans went without power for several days during the unprecedented storms, and as local and federal officials grapple with the potential for new statewide food and water insecurities.
Mr Biden issued a major disaster declaration for Texas during the weekend and previously indicated he wanted to travel to the state to assist with ongoing recovery efforts without being a “burden for folks” in statements to the press.
His plans to visit the state also coincided with continued fallout over Senator Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) decision to flee his home in Texas amid the winter storms for a tropical vacation in Cancun.
Mr Cruz was effectively forced to return to Texas after news broke he had fled the state with his family and friends for a trip to Mexico, where he was scheduled to stay at the luxe Ritz Carlton as millions of his constituents remained without power.
Photos showed the Republican senator making his way through an international airport in Houston last week, causing him to release an initial statement that indicated he was only dropping his family off for the trip before returning back to Texas.
However, reports later indicated Mr Cruz had intended to in fact stay with his family on vacation during the storms for an extended weekend getaway, though he rescheduled his one-way ticket back to Texas at 6:00 a.m. on Thursday amid the resulting controversy.
First Lady Dr Jill Biden was also scheduled to attend the trip to Texas on Friday alongside the president. Other prominent democrats, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D—NY), have visited Texas in recent days to take part in community service efforts.
As Mr Biden is visiting Texas, Mr Cruz will be speaking at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at 10:50 a.m. for a discussion titled “Bill of rights, Liberty, and Cancel Culture,” according to the event schedule.