4:19 PM PT -- Cruz is back home and briefly spoke with reporters waiting outside. He says the trip was "obviously a mistake" and in hindsight, he wouldn't have done it ... explaining he was, "Trying to be a dad."
"It was obviously a mistake. In hindsight, I wouldn't have done it."
His arrival comes on the heels of a NYT report claiming Ted's wife sent a text to friends just before the family left to Mexico, saying their house was "FREEZING" and revealing plans to stay until Sunday and inviting others along. If the report is true, it's a much different story than Ted's statement claiming he was only going to drop his girls off in Cancun.
Sen. Ted Cruz is back in Texas after his quick getaway to Cancun was seemingly shortened by the outrage over his timing -- amid the statewide emergency -- and now he has police protection.
Officers escorted Cruz as he deplaned in Houston to head to customs. Sounds like he's in a pretty chipper mood for a guy who pissed off millions of people in a matter of hours.
As we reported ... Cancun Cruz and his family boarded a United flight Wednesday night to begin a tropical getaway as millions of his fellow Texans are literally freezing and dying due to the winter storm-induced power outages.
The Senator quickly hopped on a flight back to Houston Thursday afternoon, hours after the backlash. He was reportedly trying to get an upgrade to business class, but as you can see he rode back in economy -- and passengers weren't shy about chatting him up.
Cruz says he only took the trip to be a "good dad" and chaperone his daughters to Cancun. He claims he had always planned to return today, but that seems suspect ... considering his wife was on the trip, and could've handled babysitting duty on her own.
Oh, and he had a pretty big roll-on bag too for a 24-hour trip. 🤔