Updated: Ted Cruz Refused to Meet with Constituents, Barred Access to Offices

Texans were told to make an appointment by calling the office, though neither Houston nor Austin phone lines were in service for days.

By Katharine Shilcutt January 26, 2017

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U.S. Senator Ted Cruz and Donald J. Trump at CNN's republican presidential debate at The Venetian, December 15, 2015.

Update: The phone line for Senator Cruz's Houston office has been reopened as of 3 p.m. CDT and is currently accepting voicemails. We reached a staffer named Kyle who told us, "I’m going to have to refer you to the press office and they’ll be the best people to help you." When we reached Senator Cruz's press office, a staffer answered our questions by offering to take our email address "and put your request through." We will update this article when we hear back.

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz is perhaps best known for losing the Republican primary during the most recent U.S. presidential election and later throwing his support behind now-President Donald Trump, despite Trump attacking Cruz's wife based on her appearance, suggesting Cruz's father was part of the conspiracy to assassinate John F. Kennedy, implying Cruz had several mistresses, and threatening Cruz on Twitter.

This week, however, Cruz attempted to engage in some Twitter-trolling of his own. When sports website Deadspin alleged that Cruz never played basketball, Cruz took time out of his busy senatoring schedule to respond with not only a photo of himself  shooting hoops a Duke basketball player who resembles him, but also a GIF from the movie Anchorman.

To an outsider, it would seem that Ted Cruz—or at least someone on his staff—has enough time on his hands to also meet with the many constituents who have been trying to make an appointment to speak with Cruz at his Houston office at 808 Travis St. In addition to concerns about the repeal of the ACA, many Texans—whom Cruz represents in the U.S. Senate alongside fellow Republican John Cornyn—have expressed grave concerns about Trump's cabinet picks, many of whom have still not been confirmed by the Senate.

Betsy DeVos, the current nominee for Secretary of Education, has been widely decried by both Democrats and Republicans as well as educators across the nation as "dangerously unqualified" for the job. Meanwhile, fellow Texan and decade-long chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil Rex Tillerson, the current nominee for Secretary of State, has repeatedly called for lifting sanctions against oil-rich Russia. While Tillerson recently cashed out his Exxon stock options, his former company—where Tillerson spent 40 years of his life, and where he still has many friends and supporters—still stands to make billions in profits if sanctions are lifted, allowing the oil giant to tap into Arctic reserves.

Cruz does not seem interested in responding to his constituents' concerns, however. Following a high volume of calls from Texans, the phone number at his office is no longer in service, making it impossible to reach the Senator, let alone leave a voicemail to try and make an appointment. And on Tuesday, those trying to visit his office in person were asked to leave and later escorted off the premises by the Houston Police Department. 

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Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in 2014.

"Confused as to why they were unable to enter the senator’s office, even if only to schedule a meeting on another day, the constituents remained," wrote Andrea Greer in the Burnt Orange Report, which offered first-hand reports of the day's events. "As threatened, the police were called. In the meantime, the staffers closed up the office and left for the day."

Constituents attempting to visit Cruz's office in Austin were met with the same rebuff. In a frustrating Möbius strip of illogical absurdity, Texans were repeatedly told they'd need to make an appointment by calling the office, despite the fact that neither the Houston nor Austin phone lines have been in service for days.

Cruz has not publicly acknowledged this restriction of access, though he has made time to rehash more of his Deadspin spat on Twitter and to hawk his upcoming appearance on Fox News. Meanwhile, Senator Cornyn has taken a page from Cruz's own playbook. Though Cornyn's Regional Area Director did meet with a few delegates this past Tuesday, the office eventually asked the rest to leave, finally calling HPD to escort the constituents off the property.

As with Cruz's office, Cornyn's phone number is also no longer in service and no longer taking voicemails. All attempts to reach either Cruz or Cornyn for comment were unsuccessful.

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