Lucifer in the flesh — John Boehner, the former House speaker, said of Mr. Cruz in 2016.
Lucifer in the flesh — John Boehner, the former House speaker, said of Mr. Cruz in 2016.
How Ted Cruz Became the Least Sympathetic Politician in America
His getaway to Cancún during the Texas power emergency was only the latest episode in a political career that has left Mr. Cruz reviled by Democrats and more than a few Republicans.

On Monday, Senator Ted Cruz urged his constituents to “stay home,” warning that winter weather beating down on Texas could be deadly. On Tuesday, he offered a shrug emoji and pronounced the situation “not good.” Then, on Wednesday, he decamped for a Ritz-Carlton resort in sun-drenched Cancún, escaping with his family from their freezing house.

And on Thursday, many Americans who had been battered by a deadly winter storm, on top of a nearly yearlong pandemic, finally found a reason to come together and lift their voices in a united chorus of rage.

FlyinTed, a homage to Donald J. Trump’s “Lyin’ Ted” nickname, began trending on Twitter. TMZ, the celebrity website, published photographs showing a Patagonia-fleece-clad Mr. Cruz waiting for his flight, hanging out in the United Club lounge and reading his phone from a seat in economy plus. The Texas Monthly, which bills itself as “the national magazine of Texas,” offered a list of curses to mutter against Mr. Cruz.

For a politician long reviled not just by Democrats but also by many of his Republican colleagues in Washington, Mr. Cruz is now the landslide winner for the title of the least sympathetic politician in America. After leaving freezing Texans to melt snow for water while he traveled to go work at the beach, Mr. Cruz offered little more than the classic political cliché — time with family — as an explanation, citing his daughters’ desire to go to Cancún as the reason for his trip. Even his dog became a player in the drama after a report that the Cruz family had left the aptly named Snowflake behind with a security guard, stirring fresh outrage on social media.

“He’s a person that people enjoy disliking,” said Bill Miller, a veteran Texas lobbyist and political consultant who has worked with members of both parties. “And now he’s been mortally wounded. It’s like he bailed out on the state at its most weakened moment. It’s an indefensible action.”

While Mr. Cruz is hardly the first politician to face blowback after paying his way out of hardship, the junior senator from Texas presents a uniquely rich target. The conservative firebrand has spent much of his career gleefully pointing out the perceived hypocrisies of both political opponents and Republican allies — a personality trait that set off a national wave of schadenfreude as the country watched Mr. Cruz flip-flopping over his tropical getaway on Thursday.

Throughout his political career, Mr. Cruz has united politicians from former President George W. Bush to Senator Rand Paul in mutual distaste. “Lucifer in the flesh,” John Boehner, the former House speaker, said of Mr. Cruz in 2016. Even Satanists could not abide the comparison; a spokesman for the Satanic Temple quickly released a statement saying that the group wanted “nothing to do” with politicians like Mr. Cruz.

... After a 2016 primary campaign in which he called Mr. Trump a “pathological liar,” a “serial philanderer,” an “utterly amoral” conspiracy-monger and a peerless narcissist, Mr. Cruz embarked on a major reputational repair campaign aimed at wooing back the new president and the conservative base that supported him.

... “Until Donald Trump came along, this guy was the biggest performer in conservative politics,” said Julián Castro, the former mayor of San Antonio and housing secretary. “He was the one that was trying to position himself as the id of the conservative moment.”

Mr. Castro added, “He comes off as fake and he comes off as much more concerned about himself than anyone else.”

... Congressional aides and members of Congress say there’s quite a lot that a senator can do to help in the immediate aftermath of a natural disaster, including coordinating relief efforts, pressuring the federal government for additional resources and disseminating crucial public safety information.