Is anyone else tired of the faux outrage over Ted Cruz being on vacation in Cancun at the same time millions of Texans were without power following a historic freeze? Yet, the same media that ignored Andrew Cuomo’s nursing home scandal for nearly a year is giving endless coverage to the fake scandal of Cruz in Cancun.
A new poll shows that people suddenly feel that politicians should be in their home state during a crisis, and maybe that’s not a bad idea, but let’s not pretend that the outrage is legitimate. Ted Cruz, a U.S. senator, has virtually no power to impact the state or the federal government’s response. As Hurricane Katrina made perfectly clear, it is the responsibility of the state government to request federal assistance. Had Texas Governor Greg Abbott been in Cancun, the criticism would be legitimate.
But, let’s get back to the hypocrisy of the outrage. Who is making the biggest stink about Cruz? Democrats and the liberal media. They just so happen to be the same people who mostly held their tongues when Barack Obama was MIA during times of crisis.
Perhaps the most similar example would be in the summer of 2016, when Obama refused to interrupt his vacation in Martha’s Vineyard to survey the flooding in Louisiana, the worst natural disaster in the United States in four years. His administration defended him, as did the governor of Louisiana, John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, who claimed that security would be an issue—an excuse that didn’t work for George W. Bush during Katrina.
“They created a crisis atmosphere and said, ‘Look at how Bush is failing,’ whereas with Obama, there is no crisis atmosphere,” Tim Graham, the Media Research Center’s director of media analysis, said at the time. “There’s no atmosphere where we’re going to judge how he’s doing. He’s not involved. He’s not part of this story. And that’s kind of what I’m seeing.” Criticism of Obama’s failure to be engaged with the Louisiana flooding crisis was limited to conservative media.
Unlike Ted Cruz, Barack Obama could directly impact the situation in Louisiana. Surveying the situation would have brought significant attention to the disaster, and, of course, the White House has to approve federal disaster declarations in order to secure federal resources. While it’s true that Obama didn’t necessarily have to visit the area to accomplish this, the publicity of such a visit could have increased media attention on the plight, which had been virtually nonexistent, according to Louisiana native Sean Illing. “In Louisiana, there’s a gnawing sense that the national media seems wholly uninterested in this disaster. One listens in vain for a mention of floods amid the breathless coverage of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton’s email testimony,” Illing wrote in Salon.
Obama was far more engaged, and security was not used as an excuse during the 2012 Hurricane Sandy flooding when Obama not only went on the ground to survey the damage but staged a photo-op in the White House situation room.
But Obama’s failure to care enough about the floods in Louisiana during his vacation was hardly an isolated incident.
In 2010, a number of high-ranking Polish officials, including the president, died in a plane crash en route to Russia. Obama played golf during the funeral, which he was originally supposed to attend. Volcanic ash in the atmosphere following the eruption of a volcano in Iceland prevented him and other world leaders from attending.
In 2012, the terrorist attack at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya didn’t stop Obama from keeping up with his busy campaign schedule.
In 2014, following the execution of American journalist James Foley by ISIS, Obama, who was on vacation at the time, made a statement on Foley’s death, then went golfing immediately afterward. The Obama White House defended Obama’s golf outing. “I will say that, generally, I think that, you know, sports and leisure activities are a good way for release and clearing of the mind for a lot of us,” White House spokesman Eric Schultz said at the time. The White House didn’t send any representatives to Foley’s memorial service.
When Major General Harold Green, the highest-ranking U.S. officer killed in battle since the Vietnam War, was buried at Arlington National Cemetery, Obama couldn’t be bothered to attend the ceremony because of a tee time at Martha’s Vineyard.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest defended Obama’s decision to attend two fundraisers in New York following the crash of Malaysian Flight 17, which killed 298 people, including one American.
Obama prioritized attending Democratic fundraisers across the country before speaking publicly on the VA waiting list scandal that resulted in the deaths of over 300,000 veterans, and then immediately went off to more fundraisers.
While Obama was occasionally called out for the bad optics of his action, the outrage was mostly confined to conservative media. Let’s not kid ourselves into believing that the criticism of Cruz is legitimate, when it’s mostly partisan bellyaching.
Matt Margolis is the author of Airborne: How The Liberal Media Weaponized The Coronavirus Against Donald Trump, and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter, Gab, Facebook, MeWe, Heroes, Rumble, and CloutHub.