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Ted Cruz, slated for controversial Cancun trip, now wants airport escorts for lawmakers

Ted Cruz, slated for controversial Cancun trip, now wants airport escorts for lawmakers

Senator Ted Cruz has said he wants airport escorts for lawmakers.

The Texas senator said he is proposing a bill amendment that would offer politicians a dedicated security escort at airports, along with expedited screening outside of public view, Politico reported.

Federal judges and Cabinet members, as well as a limited number of their family and staff, would also be entitled to a security escort and expedited screening, according to the legislation.

The draft amendment, obtained by Politico, states that it would mandate that the TSA help “arrange” a security escort — which the provision says could be local law enforcement — for “the entirety of the time” the official is in the airport.

Mr Cruz is trying to attach the amendment to a major aviation policy bill, S. 1939, that is expected to be marked up in the Senate Commerce Committee on Thursday.

If the legislation passes, it could mean the comings and goings of politicians are much less likely to become fodder for embarrassing news reports and late-night comedy mockery.

Senator Ted Cruz has said he wants airport escorts for lawmakers (REUTERS)
Senator Ted Cruz has said he wants airport escorts for lawmakers (REUTERS)

In February 2021, Mr Cruz was slammed after he was photographed going on a family vacation to Cancun while his fellow Texans were suffering record-cold temperatures and power outages.

More than 4.5 million homes and businesses were left without power and as many as 246 people were killed as a result of the cold weather.

The senator was widely criticized for his actions, leading him to fly back to Texas from Mexico almost immediately after saying he went on the trip because he wanted to “be a good dad.”

He later apologised for the trip, admitting it was “obviously a mistake” and that “in hindsight, I wouldn’t have done it”.

Speaking about his new proposal, Mr Cruz told Politico it is needed to ensure that lawmakers are not endangered when they are using public spaces or airports.

Capitol Police recently revealed that they investigated more than 8,000 threats to lawmakers in 2023, an increase of 500 over the previous year.

The draft states that extra security would be available to those who are currently or have previously “been the subject of a threat.”

There are “serious security threats facing public officials,” Mr Cruz said. “It’s important that we take reasonable measures to keep everyone safe.”

Senate Republican Commerce Committee spokeswoman Melissa Braid echoed Mr Cruz’s comments, telling Newsweek that the language in the proposal “was drafted in a bipartisan manner to address the growing number of serious threats to justices, judges, public officials and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.”

However, Kevin Murphy, the executive director of the Airport Law Enforcement Agencies Network, criticized the plans, telling Politico Mr Cruz’s proposal would be “a burden to airport police agencies” and would divert police from “crime suppression and security functions at airports, which is our fundamental duty.”

He added that any escort duties for political officials should be the responsibility of federal law enforcement, not local law enforcement.

The proposal also attracted criticism from X users, with journalist Mark Jacob writing: “Ted Cruz is seeking special treatment to help him slip away to Cancun undetected.”

Meanwhile, former federal prosecutor Ron Filipkowski mocked Mr Cruz, writing: “Keep the riff raff commoners away from Prince Ted.”