“Cruz says he has ‘no defense’ for mocking California’s past power outages as Texas’ grid falters amid historic freeze”, The Dallas Morning News
By Tom Benning, Feb 17, 2021
‘A blizzard strikes Texas & our state shuts down,’ the Republican wrote on Twitter. ‘Not good.’
WASHINGTON — Confronted with his mocking last year of California over that state’s power outages during a heat wave, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz late on Tuesday said he had “no defense” for his past criticism as Texas’ power grid falters amid a historic winter storm.
“I got no defense,” the Republican wrote on Twitter, quoting a news story about others highlighting his jabs at California. “A blizzard strikes Texas & our state shuts down. Not good.”
Cruz and other Republican leaders in Texas have come under an intense spotlight during the ongoing power failure, which has left millions of Texans without electricity for hours and even days as the state deals with dangerously cold temperatures and icy conditions.
Cruz, among others, received criticism for his opposition to certain federal aid to states hit by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. The senator also earned blowback for the taunts he aimed at California last year, when that state endured power outages during a severe heat wave.
“California is now unable to perform even basic functions of civilization, like having reliable electricity,” the Texan said then, accusing President Joe Biden and other Democrats of wanting to “make CA’s failed energy policy the standard nationwide.”
While Cruz often relishes engaging in social media scuffles, he’s declined to do so over the outages. His Twitter feed, like many other Texas politicians’, has focused on weather and energy info in recent days; Cruz, in his “no defense” Tweet, urged Texans to “stay safe” amid the polar blast.
Some Democrats took note of Cruz’s approach.
“Not even Ted Cruz will defend Greg Abbott on this catastrophe,” San Antonio Rep. Joaquin Castro wrote on Twitter, referring to the Texas governor, whom many Democrats have blamed for the crisis playing out in the Lone Star State.
Another Democrat — Rep. Ruben Gallego of Arizona — said he hoped the ongoing disaster “will teach Texas politicians to stop dunking on other states when they are going through disasters,” adding that “all Americans deserve help and empathy from fellow Americans.”
Cruz is far from the only Texas GOPer to be put on the spot, particularly after many have leaned into the false narrative that an overreliance on wind energy is chiefly to blame for the outages.
It’s true that frozen wind turbines contributed to there being less power than the grid needed. But energy experts and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the state’s main grid operator, have said the far bigger factor was significantly reduced output from thermal sources like natural gas.
Still, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who served as U.S. energy secretary under former President Donald Trump, said this weekthat “if wind and solar is where we’re headed, the last 48 hours ought to give everybody a real pause and go wait a minute.”
Perry also suggested that the power outages are a worthy sacrifice for Texas to retain its unique status of having an independent electric grid.
“Texans would be without electricity for longer than three days to keep the federal government out of their business,” he was quoted as saying in a blog post posted by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, also created a stir late Tuesday by saying on Fox News that the state’s ongoing power struggles due to the winter storm show “how the Green New Deal would be a deadly deal for the United States of America.”
Democrats in Texas and beyond responded with outrage.
“The elderly, children, and other vulnerable Texans are literally fighting for their lives amidst this monumental failure,” said Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-El Paso. “And instead of working to get help to his constituents and save lives, @GregAbbott_TX goes on TV to lie to the world.”