Differences in Leadership: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Versus Ted Cruz


AOC (center) at the Houston Food Bank with Sheila Jackson Lee to her immediate left and Sylvia Garcia to her immediate right (AOC’s twitter)

Jake Risch

After winter storm Uri caused millions of Texans to lose power and/or water, along with the deaths of dozens of people (an underestimate, to be sure), one politician became an unlikely champion for Texas relief efforts. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat of New York’s 14th Congressional district, created a fundraising effort for a group of charities including the Houston Food Bank, Feeding Texas, and the Bridge Homeless Recovery Center. Ocasio-Cortez contacted representative Sylvia Garcia (TX-29) and expressed her desire to help. Within two hours of Ocasio-Cortez announcing the fundraising effort on her Twitter, she had raised $325,000. As of Sunday, Feb. 21, she announced that the number hit five million dollars.

On Saturday, Feb. 20, Ocasio-Cortez traveled to Texas to volunteer at the Houston Food Bank and celebrate her fundraising initiative with Texas Democrats like Garcia, Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (TX-18), and Rep. Al Green (TX-09). She then went door-to-door in Garcia’s district to assess the damage caused by the storm.

During Ocasio-Cortez’s charitable efforts, Texas Senator Ted Cruz came under fire after pictures of him and his wife traveled around social media showing the couple boarding a flight to Cancun, Mexico on Wednesday, Feb. 17. Blowback only intensified after Cruz released a statement saying that he was trying to “be a good dad” by accompanying his daughters on the way to Cancun and flying back the following day. He later amended his statement to say that he was planning to stay through the weekend. 

Well after the storm passed, Ted Cruz revisited the scandal during his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Fla. At the start of his speech he quipped, “Orlando is awesome. It’s not as nice as Cancun, but it’s nice.” Cruz’s speech worked its way through multiple topics and drew even more backlash to the senator. He said that people will be wearing masks for the next three hundred years, that “Donald J. Trump ain’t going anywhere,” and that Ocasio-Cortez’s experience during the capitol insurrection was “political theater.”
Ted Cruz and AOC’s growing political rivalry could play a major role in the future of the Republican and Democratic parties if either decides to seek higher office. Cruz’s future (assuming he will run for re-election in 2024) has an uphill battle. After his trip to Cancun, the senator’s approval rating dropped by double digits.


Ted Cruz speaking at CPAC (NBC News)