Ted Cruz took his Princeton roommate to Cancun for the ‘family vacation’
Ted Cruz invited his college roommate from Princeton and Harvard Law to join him and his family on their Cancun vacation, it has been revealed.
David Panton, 49, attended Princeton and Harvard Law with Cruz in the early 90s. He now lives in Atlanta and is a partner at Navigation Capital Partners, a private equity firm.
Cruz flew to Mexico last Wednesday afternoon with his wife Heidi and their two daughters, aged 10 and 12, while millions in their home state struggled without power, heat and water.
He flew back the next day amid outcry over the trip, and defended it by saying he was just being a ‘good dad’ and appeasing his ‘girls’, who’d asked if they could jet somewhere warm while Texas froze.
After planning the trip apparently at the last minute, Cruz invited Panton and he flew separately to Cancun, Axios revealed on Monday.
Panton also took a room at The Ritz-Carlton and stayed behind after Ted left.
It’s unclear he flew down alone. He has a son with former Miss Universe, Wendy Fitzwilliam, and another with his ex-wife, former Miss World Lisa Hanna.
Panton grew up in Jamaica, the son of local politicians, before attending college in the US. He and Cruz graduated from Princeton in 1992 and from Harvard Law in 1995.
Ted Cruz and David Panton (pictured graduating from college). Cruz invited Panton to join him and his family in Cancun last week on an ill-fated trip during Texas’s energy crisis that Cruz claims was orchestrated by his 10 and 12-year-old daughters
Cruz is shown returning to Texas last Thursday after being slammed for abandoning his home state
Cruz and Panton are shown in 2012, during a campaign event in Houston
It comes after text messages show how Heidi Cruz told neighbors and friends that they were ‘escaping’ the ‘freezing’ temperatures.
She asked the others in a group text for women who live on their Houston street if they too could get away.
The family also left behind their poodle, Snowflake.
The trip and his attempts to defend it have been a PR disaster for the Senator.
Since returning last Thursday, Cruz has been working overtime to mend his image and tackle the ongoing crisis in Texas.
Over the weekend, he served barbecue to first responders in Houston to ‘thank them’ for their work.
The power and water shortage in Texas was caused when Winter Storm Uri blew through the state, driving up the sudden demand for energy.
Texas – which operates on his own electrical grid unlike the rest of the US – wasn’t prepared for it.
The Senator uploaded photos to Facebook on Sunday showing him serving barbecue to first responders
Ted’s wife Heidi texted her group of friends on their street the day they flew to ask who wanted to go with them
Heidi pictured returning to Houston over the weekend
Suddenly, everyone in the state needed more energy than ever and there wasn’t enough of it in reserve. The cold weather also closed down power plants which hadn’t been renovated to withstand the frigid temperatures, despite a similar storm in 2011 causing the same problems.
Now, there are serious questions over why those power plants weren’t ready for it.
ERCOT – the agency in charge of the distribution of all the energy in the state – initiated rolling blackouts to try to save what was left of the system.
They switched off power to huge swathes of the state to try to conserve the system, but it meant millions had no heat, water or electricity during historically cold temperatures.
Some, including 11-year-old Cristian Pavon Pineda, froze to death.
Others died trying to keep warm, including a grandmother and three kids, who were killed by a fire they’d started.
Over the weekend, protesters descended on the suburban Houston home where Cruz and his family live with signs demanding that he resign.
The family of Cristian Pavon Pineda, an 11-year-old boy from Texas who ended up freezing to death after the family’s mobile home lost power during freezing weather last week are suing the electricity companies involved to the tune of $100 million
Le Nguyen, a grandmother, died with her three grandchildren in a fire. She had always taken care of them, often picking them up from school and their various activities to help her daughter further her career in finance
The family had been without power at their Sugar Land home for eight hours when the fire broke out
Volunteers prepare to load food into cars during the Houston Food Bank food distribution at NRG Stadium on Sunday. Thousands of people lined up to receive food and water at a mass distribution site for Houston residents who are still without running water and electricity following winter storm Uri
Shoppers are seen wandering next to near empty shelves in a supermarket in Houston, Texas following winter storm Uri on Saturday