Sure, Gavin Newsom Went to Mexico While Trapped Californians Died, But Don't Call it His 'Ted Cruz' Moment

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

When Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) took his family to Cancun as a brutal winter storm left thousands of Texans without power in February 2021, pundits and politicians across the country roundly criticized the move, even some on the right. While Cruz couldn’t directly do anything about the power grid, the move was widely seen as insensitive to the plight of normal Texans who couldn’t afford to get away to Cancun and were attempting to keep themselves warm. Two years later, leftists still reflexively scream “Cancun!” every time Cruz’s name comes up.


Fast forward two years, and California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who rarely passes up an opportunity to criticize Cruz, fled to Mexico while the ink on the state emergency declaration he’d signed related to an unprecedented winter storm in 18 mountain counties was still drying. When Newsom left the state, his office didn’t say where he’s going; they claim it’s a security risk to let people know even vaguely where the Governor is. By the time he returned three days later, thousands of people in San Bernardino, Humboldt, Mendocino, and Placer counties (and likely others) hadn’t had power for 12 days and volunteer search-and-rescue teams had started to find people dead in their homes.

Unlike Cruz, though, Newsom has direct responsibility for disaster response, and he’s abdicated it. And none of Newsom’s leftist fans believe he’s even done anything wrong. When the issue comes up, the response is either, “Now do Ted Cruz!” or, “We needed the rain and we’re all fine; there’s no crisis.”

Some conservatives have tried to call this Gavin Newsom’s “Ted Cruz moment,” and while I agree that there are some similarities, I maintain that this is in no way his “Ted Cruz moment.” Ted Cruz has done nothing as monstrous as Newsom has, and that’s even before Newsom’s current dereliction of duty. In addition to Newsom’s famous “let them eat cake” moment at the French Laundry, Newsom and his family took off to a $29,000/night Cabo dacha, owned by a Russian oligarch, over Thanksgiving 2021, right after he extended the covid State of Emergency.


No, this isn’t Gavin’s “Ted Cruz moment,” because that implies that Cruz didn’t take actions that he should have to help his constituents. Newsom did, and Newsom continues to do so — and Democrats looking the other way while people die are enabling him.

To be completely clear: People have died, and will die in coming days, as a direct result of Gavin Newsom taking off to a foreign country and not ensuring that an appropriate response from state officials took place.

As the Texas Tribune noted in a story about Cruz’s Cancun trip, the role of a federal officeholder during such a crisis is to communicate their state or district’s needs to appropriate officials on the federal level, and the first step is sending a letter to the President after the Governor makes a federal disaster declaration request. While area representatives have been begging Newsom to request a federal disaster declaration, he hasn’t yet done so. From Texas Tribune, emphasis mine:

In the throes of a crisis, the onus of executing aid is mostly on a state’s governor. But, as state leaders, senators often help coordinate relief efforts with other public officials, engage in a public information campaign and great care is taken to ensure the senator is in the public eye and showing concern.

In Cruz’s case, he admitted that focusing on his role as a father temporarily blinded him to the requirements of his other role, as US Senator representing Texas. He only stayed in Cancun long enough to get a return flight to Texas, and was contrite and apologetic when he returned:


“From the moment I sat on the plane, I began really second-guessing that decision and saying, ‘Look, I know why we’re doing this, but I’ve also got responsibilities,’” he said. “Leaving when so many Texans were hurting didn’t feel right, and so I changed my return flight and flew back on the first available flight I could take.”

He reiterated that the trip was at the urging of his daughters, but he seemed also to take responsibility.
“Look, it was obviously a mistake,” Cruz said. “In hindsight, I wouldn’t have done it. I was trying to be a dad.”

And in that moment — clad in a Patagonia puffer jacket, unshaven and slightly haggard, seeming equal parts exhausted and exasperated and even perhaps a bit contrite — Ted Cruz did, in fact, look a lot like a dad.

Gavin Newsom’s family is not at all affected by the winter weather, although people are still trapped without power in Placer County, which is in the same congressional district in which they reside. Newsom wasn’t facing a wife and four children who’d been living in a cold house with no power, and were begging to go somewhere warm. In fact, we don’t even know if Newsom’s wife and children were with him in Mexico or what he was doing there that took precedence over saving lives. For this trip, sources in Sacramento are extraordinarily tight-lipped, which is also curious.

Newsom, who’s never met a camera he didn’t like, isn’t even going down to San Bernardino to play at helping for the photo op. He’s not even giving press conferences with platitudes like, “We’re all in this together,” or uttering a single disingenuous reassuring word. Neither of the state’s Democrat senators are publicly pushing for a federal disaster declaration for any of the affected counties, even though thousands of homes have suffered structural damage and the number fully destroyed will likely be in the hundreds, even though numerous businesses have been destroyed — and even though residents are begging for competent help. (Please excuse the NSFW language in my tweet; it’s frustrating to watch this and not be able to do anything.)


Rachel is more fortunate than some, since she can get out her front door. But that’s still not saying much.

From Rachel’s updates it’s clear that the county is overwhelmed and not able to help all who need it, which is why it’s important that state officials from CalOES on down step in. They’ve had authorization to for nearly a week, yet these updates are from this morning.

Rachel has experience as a disaster relief worker, so perhaps some Newsom apologists should take a read.


The silence from the Democrat US Senators and Gavin Newsom is stunning, but given that the affected counties are almost all Republican-voting counties, represented by Republicans in the state legislature and Congress, it’s difficult not to believe that this neglect is intentional. And that is unconscionable.


To help Mountain Provisions Cooperative obtain and deliver food and medical supplies and organize search and rescue teams, click here. To help CalDART volunteer pilots defray the cost of operating their helicopters to perform food and medicine drops, click here. In addition, please call Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office and the offices of Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Sen. Alex Padilla to demand that a federal emergency declaration be requested and that additional search-and-rescue teams be dispatched immediately, before the next storm hits Friday. I will update this piece with their contact information shortly.

UPDATE Wednesday, March 8, 10:45 PM Pacific: 12 people have died in San Bernardino’s mountain communities since the storm hit; many of them found dead in their homes.

(This piece was edited post-publication to add tweets and photos showing the current conditions and information on how people can help.)


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