Ted Cruz and his family left their poodle Snowflake behind when they jetted off to the Ritz-Carlton in Mexico, it has emerged, with the dog remaining in the unheated Houston house as the Cruzes sunned themselves.
Cruz said his home lost power at around 6pm on Tuesday night.
‘It got cold, in the 30s in the house,’ he told Sean Hannity’s Fox News show on Thursday night, having returned that afternoon, chastened, following an outcry.
‘It stayed without power for two days.’
Neighbors told reporters that their power was restored after 24 hours.
Cruz and his wife Heidi, a managing director in Goldman Sachs’ Houston office, flew out of Houston airport at 4pm on Wednesday, with their daughters Caroline and Catherine, 10 and 12.
Snowflake was spotted by a reporter at 1pm on Thursday, looking out the front door.
A security guard stationed outside the property said that he had been tasked with feeding and tending to the dog, in the freezing home.
The dog was adopted by the family as a puppy in 2014.
Cruz landed back at Houston airport at around 5pm on Thursday.
His wife and daughters remained in Mexico, enjoying temperatures in the high 70s at their $300-a-night resort on the beach in Cancun.
Twenty four people have died so far amid the coldest temperatures in decades.
Cruz admitted on Thursday that his trip, which sparked a furious outcry among his freezing constituents, had been a mistake.
‘It was obviously a mistake and in hindsight I wouldn’t have done it,’ he said on arrival back at his Colonial Revival home, in the River Oaks district of Houston.
‘I was trying to be a dad,’ he explained.
‘And all of us have made decisions – when you’ve got two girls who have been cold for two days, and haven’t had heat or power, and they are saying: ‘Look, we don’t have school, why don’t we go, let’s get out of here.”
Cruz later admitted to Hannity that he intended to stay at the beach resort ‘through the weekend’, working to help his freezing people from Cancun.
He changed his flight, he said, on realizing it wasn’t a good look.
‘We lost power for two days, we lost power, we had no heat,’ he said.
‘We were huddled around the fireplace behind me because it was the only heat in the house.
‘After a couple of days, with it being really cold, in the teens outside, my girls said school’s been cancelled, can we take a trip and go somewhere warm.
‘And Heidi and I, as parents, we said OK, sure.
‘So last night I flew down with them to the beach. And I flew back this afternoon.
‘I had initially planned to stay through the weekend and work remotely there.
‘As I was heading down I started to have second thoughts almost immediately,’ he said.
‘Because the crisis here in Texas you need to be on the ground, because as much as you can do by phone and Zoom, it’s not the same.
‘So I returned this afternoon and I’m here working to do everything we can to get the power turned on.’
The Cruzes’ decision to leave their pet sparked further fury on social media.
‘They left the dog behind? Okay – now I’m really really really mad!’ said one person.
Another said: ‘Animal cruelty too?’
Some suggested that animal welfare charities should step in.
‘The local humane society should take it away and find a real home with a loving and caring family,’ said one.
‘I am more focused on him leaving the dog in a freezing house,’ said another. ‘WFT?’
‘Texans have long been fine with Cruz’s corruption, dishonesty and hypocrisy,’ said one, noting that leaving behind their dog was ‘a bridge too far’.
SOURCE: Daily Mail, Harriet Alexander