The group chat must have been at its breaking point.
On Wednesday, the New York Times obtained text messages sent by Heidi Cruz, wife of Texas Senator Ted Cruz, asking a group chat of friends and neighbors if they were up for an impromptu vacation in paradise. Not long after the texts were sent, the Cruz family were spotted in a Houston airport, en route to Cancun, Mexico.
The Cruzes, like millions of other Texans, were caught in the middle of an unprecedented winter storm. In the last week, millions have been left without electricity or heat, suffering from frozen gas lines and contaminated tap water. As of Thursday, 30 people have died in Texas as a result of the big freeze; many from hypothermia, some from carbon monoxide poisoning after resorting to dangerous alternatives to keep their homes warm. But most don’t have the option to book flights to Mexico for a multi-day stay at a luxury resort. The Cruzes, however, did, and happily took advantage of it, to the chagrin of anyone with an iota of sense.
Senator Cruz’s justification is almost as pathetic as the meager attempts at damage control that followed, in the form of limp apologies before the cameras and a Fox News appearance. But Senator Cruz’s betrayal to his state wasn’t the only act of treachery here. At least two people ratted Heidi out to the New York Times.
From the Times (emphasis ours):
Text messages sent from Ms. Cruz to friends and Houston neighbors on Wednesday revealed a hastily planned trip. Their house was “FREEZING,” as Ms. Cruz put it — and she proposed a getaway until Sunday. Ms. Cruz invited others to join them at the Ritz-Carlton in Cancún, where they had stayed “many times,” noting the room price this week ($309 per night) and its good security. The text messages were provided to The New York Times and confirmed by a second person on the thread, who declined to be identified because of the private nature of the texts.
When Ms. Cruz wrote to the group text chain of neighbors trying to weather the extreme conditions early Wednesday, she said the family had been staying with friends to keep warm, but quickly pivoted to offering an invitation to get away.
“Anyone can or want to leave for the week?” she wrote. “We may go to Cancún.” She teased a “direct flight” and “hotels w capacity. Seriously.” Ms. Cruz promptly shared details for a Wednesday afternoon departure, a Sunday return trip and a luxurious stay at the oceanfront Ritz-Carlton in the meantime.
No one appeared to bite, but Ms. Cruz did extend a more practical offer. “We have gas stove so at least we can heat water little that there is happy to help anyone we can too,” she wrote.
According to screenshots, the group chat Heidi was in with her friends and neighbors was called the “[Redacted] Lovelies,” but you can bet there is some serious love lost there now.
While some group chats are comprised of close friends, many are more of a mixed bag. Sometimes, multiple friend groups are crammed together, or the chat is made up of friends of a partner or friends of a friend. Maybe the group is mostly comprised of relatives, or classmates, or fellow parents at your child’s school. The Times reports that Heidi’s group chat consisted of “friends and Houston neighbors,” but that’s awfully vague.
Even the tightest friend groups can lack loyalty: That moment a friend says something annoying or concerning, leading to an entirely new group chat dedicated entirely to analyzing what that friend just said behind their back. Then there’s the more varied group chats: the one with that one person you usually can’t stand, who is always sharing a shitty take or saying something absolutely mind-numbing. Who hasn’t taken a screenshot of a particularly infuriating group text and shared it with others, simply to commiserate over how annoying someone else is? This surreptitious behavior is because the last thing anyone wants in a group chat is a fight. Sometimes, an argument just spirals and all the side talk in the world can’t stop it. But for the most part, no one wants to be the person in an aggressive back and forth exchange with someone else in the group chat, while everyone else plays spectator to this tennis match.
If anything, group chat etiquette allows for people to talk a little shit separately as opposed to clogging the group chat with a potentially awkward exchange. In the case of the “Lovelies,” the shit talk just happened to go to the Times.
Heidi Cruz should have known better: If a group chat of best friends is vulnerable to screenshot bitch sessions, then a group chat comprised of neighbors— people you’re friendly with by proximity alone—certainly isn’t governed by unwavering loyalty. There were likely members of the group chat that couldn’t stand her or her husband and just stuck around for Cruz Family Anecdotes to gossip about with their real friends separately. Naïveté is the only rationale for Heidi Cruz entrusting her neighbors to not only happily join her on a trip to Mexico, but to also stay mum about her ill-timed vacation getaway and the piss poor optics that accompanied it. It’s only too easy to imagine people in that group chat building resentment against Senator Cruz and, by association, his wife, who continues to stand by him. Cruz isn’t even well-liked among his Republican colleagues, and his complicity in the January 6 Capitol Riot as well as the right-wing lies that fueled it does him even fewer favors than his wolverine beard.
Let this be a cautionary tale for everyone: Try not to become so reviled that the group chat rats you out to the New York fucking Times.