When Gov. Greg Abbott spoke to Texans on Feb. 13 it was to encourage them to stay out of the cold, conserve energy, and stay off the roads, a release from his office shows. The state reached record lows, on Feb. 16 in Houston it was −2 °F. Because power equipment in Texas wasn't winterized, the machinery failed, leaving millions without heat.
"Local officials have established 34 warming centers in communities across the state," Abbott's office said ahead of the storm. It wouldn't be enough. Elderly Texans and children froze in their homes, dying of hypothermia. For days there was little to no response from the governor.
According to a timeline from KSAT, on Feb. 14, Valentine's Day, ERCOT warned it would begin rolling blackouts as the demand for power dramatically increased. As record-setting snow poured onto the state, roads and highways were closed.
"The window to prepare for this historic storm has closed as the time to hunker down is here," warned Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo.
But Abbott's team didn't seem to be taking it as seriously. According to a Freedom of Information Act request for documents around the freeze and power disaster. Statesman reporter Nicole Cobler was given the Feb. 13 schedule, where Abbott's staff suggested what he should wear that day. They called it "Disaster Casual."
By Monday 2 million Texans didn't have heat or power. That number grew Tuesday to more than 4 million people.
When a records request gives you this gem: Recommended attire on Gov. Abbott's official schedule as a historic freeze struck Texas? "Disaster casual." pic.twitter.com/akGttkEubu
— Nicole Cobler (@nicolecobler) March 11, 2021
Fox reporter Amanda Salinas in Austin asked if it was a joke
This has to be a joke. Can't possibly be
— Amanda Salinas (@AmandaOnFOX7) March 11, 2021
Others suggested he use it as his next campaign slogan.
That can be his re-election campaign's slogan!
— Matt Manning (@MManningIEI) March 11, 2021