For the first time in nearly two decades, California faced rotating power outages this past August, with grid operators blaming the rolling blackouts on a massive heat wave and the need to find additional energy sources that compose the grid.
The excessively hot weather rocked the state, and the situation was so dire that California declared a statewide Stage 3 emergency for the first time since 2001.
The reaction of several leading Republican lawmakers in Texas at the time was not sympathy, but rather to mock Democrats leading the reliably blue California.
But now Texas is facing a devastating winter storm of its own — with record-low temperatures, impassable roads, and the state’s electric grid operator losing control of the power supply all at play — and the cohort that directed ire at politicians on the other side of the aisle are facing pushback for what some viewed as a callous response.
President Biden declared over the weekend that “an emergency exists” in Texas and ordered “federal assistance to supplement state and local response efforts due to the emergency condition” resulting from the storm.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz — who has been up against considerable blowback for other political moves as of late — was among those whose tweets about California last year resurfaced Tuesday night, as millions of his constituents remained without access to electricity.
In a tweet from last August that has since racked up a number of responses, Cruz directed aim at New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — a champion of the Green New Deal — and Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, who were in the midst of running for president and vice president.
Cruz claimed that the trio wanted to make California’s “failed energy policy the standard nationwide.”
“California is now unable to perform even basic functions of civilization, like having reliable electricity,” he said. “Hope you don’t like air conditioning!”
California is now unable to perform even basic functions of civilization, like having reliable electricity.— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) August 19, 2020
Biden/Harris/AOC want to make CA’s failed energy policy the standard nationwide.
Hope you don’t like air conditioning! https://t.co/UkKBq9HkoK
This week, some have pointed to Cruz’s comments as hypocritical, given many Texas residents are suffering through freezing temperatures and dangerous conditions that the state, which relies on natural gas for power, was largely unprepared for.
Dallas resident Brandon Friedman compared the response of Cruz and fellow Republicans Attorney General Ken Paxton and Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick to the California power outages.
With a photo of his bathtub from Tuesday morning — which he called “a literal block of ice” — attached to his tweet, Friedman posted the trio’s statements on the blackouts in California from last August and September.
“This is what happens when the Democrats are left in charge,” Patrick wrote. “Why California’s liberal climate policies are causing electricity blackouts.”
“California’s politicians did this, not the heat,” Paxton added.
Here are three Texas Republicans mocking California power outages last year and my Dallas bathtub this morning, a literal block of ice pic.twitter.com/ViGZuTZz40— Brandon Friedman (@BFriedmanDC) February 16, 2021
At least one Texas politician has doubled down on his response from last year. US Representative Dan Crenshaw quote-tweeted the mayor of Los Angeles in September with a message that read, “Alexa, show me what happens when you let Democrats control energy policy.”
On Tuesday, Crenshaw found a way to pin blame on California again, saying, “Texas’s biggest mistake was learning too many renewable energy lessons from California.”
#1: It’s a once in a century weather event. California has constant energy problems and high prices.— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) February 16, 2021
#2: The reason for blackouts is complex, but in summary: Texas took too many lessons from Cali, over-subsidized renewables, & pushed out baseload energy like natural gas.
Cruz, for his part, was contrite once his previous remarks came to light. The senator wrote that he had “no defense,” adding a shrugging emoji to his response to the backlash.
“A blizzard strikes Texas & our state shuts down,” he wrote. “Not good. Stay safe!”
Shannon Larson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @shannonlarson98.