Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) gestures as he speaks to media representatives on the fifth day of the impeachment trial of former US President Donald Trump for instigating the deadly attack on the US Capitol in Washington, USA, on February 13, 2021.

Erin Scott | Reuters

Will Senator Ted Cruz be known as “Flying Ted” now?

Early Thursday, social media broke out with multiple photos allegedly showing a masked Cruz boarding a plane in Houston and then flying to Cancun, Mexico, despite millions of its Texans frozen from historically low temperatures and widespread power outages.

Hours after thousands of posts on Twitter shared these photos, other images showed someone with the Republican surname and the first initial of his legal first name – Rafael – waiting for a flight back to Houston from Cancun later Thursday morning.

NBC News has contacted Cruz’s office repeatedly about the pictures but received no response.

Beto O’Rourke, a Democrat who lost a narrow Senate election to Cruz in 2018, beat him up during an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Thursday.

Cruz “is on vacation in Cancun when the people are literally freezing to death in the state he was elected to represent and serve,” said Democrat O’Rourke.

On Tuesday, Cruz tweeted – in response to an article criticizing him for mocking California’s blackouts a few weeks earlier – “I have no defense. A blizzard hits Texas and our state is closed. Not good.”

In December, Cruz criticized Democratic officials for failing to adhere to their own restrictions on coronavirus pandemics, including Austin, Texas, Mayor Steve Adler, who himself flew to Mexico for his daughter’s wedding in November despite being Austin residents asked to stay home.

“Hypocrites. Complete and utter hypocrites,” wrote Cruz in his December 2 tweet.

Former President Donald Trump, who ran against Cruz in the 2016 Republican nomination contests, regularly mocked him with the contemptuous nickname “Lying Ted”.

But Cruz later became a passionate Trump supporter, unsuccessfully last month trying to get Congress to reject certification of Joe Biden’s electoral college victories in multiple states.

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