The devastation wrought by Tropical Storm Harvey has only just begun, as hard as it is to believe. Already, thousands of Texas residents have been rescued — including inundated nursing home patients — from rising flood waters and countless homes destroyed, all while CNN reports that the storm is expected to move back out toward the Gulf of Mexico, pick up more precipitation, and travel inland again to do more damage.
The people of Texas need help, and — naturally — GOP Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn are lobbying President Trump in support of Gov. Greg Abbott’s request for a major disaster declaration in the state. Here’s part of their joint letter, which they sent as Harvey prepared to make landfall:
“Given the potential catastrophic impact that the Hurricane may have on Texas communities, we strongly support this request and urge you to provide any and all emergency protective measures available by a major disaster declaration. We have been encouraged thus far by the work and strong coordination with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to deploy assistance to state and local officials on the ground in Texas.”
Such a plea from senators to a president is customary and, many would agree, necessary in the face of disaster. However, no one has forgotten that both Cruz and Cornyn are 2 of 36 GOP senators who voted against a 2013 supplementary relief bill geared toward helping Hurricane Sandy victims (mainly in New York) recover. At the time, Cruz defended his vote by complaining about additional “pork” added to the bill:
“Emergency relief for the families who are suffering from this natural disaster should not be used as a Christmas tree for billions in unrelated spending, including projects such as Smithsonian repairs, upgrades to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration airplanes, and more funding for Head Start … [we] should not be in the business of exploiting victims of natural disasters to fund pork projects.”
In response to the current backlash, a Cornyn spokesperson told the Austin Statesman he supported a different version of the Sandy bill, not the one that ended up passing. Whereas a statement from the Cruz camp simply reiterated how the bill was “chock-full of pork,” which won’t win him any new fans in light of the new catastrophe. Indeed, he’s receiving the brunt of the criticism right now, and the below social media reactions function as indisputable proof that almost everyone intensely dislikes Ted Cruz.