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Ted Cruz has branded his neighbours “a**holes” and claimed people should “lighten up” about his controversial trip to Mexico.

The Texas senator provoked fury last week by flying to Cancun during a deadly winter storm in his state that left millions without power.

He only came back to Texas after his wife Heidi’s text messages were leaked, apparently by his neighbours, to The New York Times disclosing his plans.

Heidi and two daughters, who he said convinced him to travel internationally for leisure during a pandemic, continued their journey and joined friends at the Ritz Carlton in Cancun.

Read more: Ted Cruz trolled with a mariachi band outside his house

A defensive Cruz has now spoken out about his trip in an interview with the popular conservative podcast Ruthless.

He said: “Here’s a suggestion, just don’t be a**holes... Treat each other as human beings, have some degree, some modicum of respect.”

He added that those upset about the trip “need to laugh a little bit, you know, loosen up.”

Cruz was also asked if he knew the identity of the individual on his wife’s text group who had tipped off the New York Times.

He said: “Yeah, I will say Heidi’s pretty p****d about that, she was actually over at a neighbour’s house yesterday, walking it through.”

He also made light of the anger aimed at him by referencing the mock conspiracy theory that he is the still unidentified Zodiac Killer.

He joked: “I haven’t had this much negative press coverage since northern California in the 1960s.”

Read more: Did Ted Cruz really board a flight to Cancun amid Texas power outage?

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