Ted Cruz blames widely condemned Cancun vacation on his daughters
Sen. Ted Cruz. (Screenshot)

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) admitted his widely condemned Cancun vacation was booked after the power went out in Texas.

The Texas Republican was photographed on board a flight to the Mexican tourist destination late Wednesday, as millions remain without power in unusually cold weather across the state he was elected to represent, and flew home the following morning after facing widespread criticism for the trip -- which a source close to the senator initially claimed was "long-planned."

"Like millions of Texans our family lost heat and power too," Cruz said Thursday afternoon in a statement.

"With school cancelled for the week, our girls asked to take a trip with friends," the senator added. "Wanting to be a good dad, I flew down with them last night and am flying back this afternoon."

Cruz insisted he and his staff -- who remained silent about the senator's whereabouts for hours as questions swirled around the photos -- were in "constant contact" with state and local leaders about the situation in Texas, which was hit by a heavy winter storm that knocked the power grid offline.