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Now Do the Side Chats, Heidi Cruz Group-Chat Leaker!

Ted Cruz, a walking farce and Republican senator from Texas, has not only thrown his children under the bus in his latest scandal, but also wrapped his wife, Heidi, up in it. To be fair, the big reveal of the role she played in the family’s Cancún kerfuffle is the one thing that can’t actually be blamed on Ted. It just, like everything else in this story, makes him look worse and worse.

Late Thursday, an outlet called Reform Austin revealed (and national outlets confirmed the authenticity of) text messages between Heidi that counter pretty much everything Cruz initially said in his statement on why he flew to Mexico in the middle of one of the worst natural disasters in Texas’s history. It was, to recap, that his daughters wanted to go on a vacation with their friends and he was just briefly escorting them down there. (Cruz has since copped to making a “mistake” and said he regretted the trip because of the “firestorm” it caused.) 

It was apparently an 11-person group chat, named “Lovelies,” that broke the story wide open. Per the messages and counter to Cruz’s initial statement, Heidi was the one who organized the trip, talking up a $309-a-night resort that she had stayed in “many times.” There were those who responded with interest, another who questioned whether testing for COVID would be available, one who said they were leaving for Cabo on Friday, and one more who was like, “no <3.”

Before the side chats named “Lovelies minus Heidi” find their way to the Times A1, I’m putting my money on the identity of the leaker: the “hot chilies” texter. (“Hot chilies” seems to refer to Hot Chillys, a brand of long underwear that’s sold in a can. They are widely regarded as the “exclusive base layer of moms who have kids named like Braiden and Wolff,” a person familiar with the taxonomy of skiers one might find on the slopes of Vail tells me.)

This is a wild guess to be clear, and it could have been any of the ten others, all anonymized by whomever did the leaking. But only one texter took the time to write out every way she was staying warm in her home, including her down comforter and the above-mentioned Chillys, which sounds a lot like the subtle “don’t do this” signaling that we’ve all probably come across in group chats since last March. It’s very “sending my regrets” coupled with “here’s exactly how I’m coping in ways that you could too.” Together those two elements equal one side-eye emoji.

How did we get here? To the ultimate betrayal? In which group texts, the semi-sacred communication lines, are used against a friend? (I’m kidding, they have long been some of the shadiest enclaves of one’s phone.) It all began deadly serious: Winter weather brought plunging temperatures and ice storms to Texas this past week, overwhelming the power system in the state. As of Thursday morning, millions of households were finally regaining power. At least 30 people have died this week in Texas from storm-related issues. There are massive supply-chain issues.

So what’s Ted Cruz, an actual comic book villain, to do in this moment? Board a flight to Cancún, home to Señor Frog’s and 80 degree weather. 

And when one gets caught because they are a deeply recognizable senator from Texas, a state that is very publicly dealing with an emergency right now, not to mention a pandemic, there’s only one thing for a comic book villain to do—throw his children under the bus, and also lie

School was closed because of a natural disaster, but his girls wanted to go on a trip with friends, so wanting to be a good dad—you get it, don’t you, fellas?—he boarded the pandemic flight with them, but was only going for four days, I mean 12 hours? Babe! 

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