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Praise and backlash as Ted Cruz's daughter comes out

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 Image courtesy of TikTok @_caro_iguess_
Image courtesy of TikTok @_caro_iguess_

Republican Sen. Ted Cruz is back in the news this week after his 13-year-old daughter, Caroline Cruz, posted a viral TikTok video exposing some of the family's secrets.

"I got a lot of new followers because of my father," said the young Cruz in the video, which has now been taken down from the site. "I was thinking I could like pros and cons because some people are asking, I don't know."

She went on to discuss some of the highlights of her life as the daughter of one of the most important conservatives in the country. These included candy, gifts in the mail, and of course, trips.

Ted Cruz — Photo by Andrew Harnik / AP  

Americans blasted Sen. Cruz last February after he took an impromptu family vacation to Cancún during the historic Texas winter storm. The senator apologized for the insensitivity and gross show of wealth by, in part, blaming his daughters for the vacation, stating, "With school canceled for the week, our girls asked to take a trip with friends. Wanting to be a good dad, I flew down with them last night and am flying back this afternoon."

Now, one of his daughters is biting back, and shared with the public that she does not necessarily agree with her father's sentiments. "A lot of people judge me based upon him at first glance," Caroline said, "but I really disagree with most of his views." She went on to explain that she often feels stifled by the conservative patriarch, who has gone so far as to request his media team edit the top she wore for the family Christmas card to make it look more conservative.

"I literally have to have security following me everywhere, like if I want to go on a walk through the neighborhood or to a friend's house, I have to have like two security guards behind me at all times," she also said of her high-profile life.

However, one of the most notable parts of her brush with TikTok fame was her inclusion of pronouns, as well as the word "bi," in her profile bio. Sen. Cruz has been adamantly opposed to Transgender rights, going so far as to call inclusive bathrooms "PC nonsense that's destroying America." His daughter's use of pronouns shows a solidarity with the Trans community and indicates that there's hope for even the children of some of the most influential conservatives.

The tabloid Gaytimes.com noted the use of "bi" in Caroline's bio as well, and mentioned comments made by fans of the video speculating around the teen's sexuality. One commenter asked, "I see in ur bio ur bi — is that something he knows? (if ur comfortable talking ab it, I'm just curious)" [sic], to which she responded, "I haven't told him yet, I'm kinda nervous to tbh but I don't think he would be mad about it" [sic].

Conservatives are now weighing in on the video, as well as the comments of support from the LGBTQ community. "This is exploitation of a minor and disgusting ethical malpractice on the part of the media. Stop this. Leave her alone," said Meghan McCain. Author J.D. Vance also weighed in, writing, "This is incredibly vile. Cruz daughter is 13 years old. Leave her and her family alone."

TikTok users are also commenting on some of the controversy. Some, like @Marcywantsmoreholidays, mentioned the hypocrisy of conservatives pushing blame on the LGBTQ community and saying Caroline is too young to come out as Bi, writing, "Straighties acting like Ted Cruz's 13-year-old daughter being bi is absurd, like they didn't 2-3 weeks ago ask their 7-year-old nephew/grandson if the girl from school he mentioned once is his girlfriend."

Others noted the difficulty that Caroline may face, as the daughter of an active opponent of LGBTQ progress. User @SueRobins wrote, "Just remember, if you attack LGBTQ youth, you may find you are attacking your own kids. Our youth are listening!"

Another user, @Kilgoreclout, added, "Please also remember this child has spent her entire life hearing her father state publicly that he doesn't think she should exist."

Caroline as a child, gives her dad bunny ears — Photo by Mike Stone / Reuters  

Since the video went viral, Caroline's TikTok account has gone private, and she has not made further public statements about herself, her father, or whether or not she is safe and accepted in her home. Her fans now hope her father — who once praised young Caroline on Twitter as precocious, writing, "The first sentence Caroline ever said was 'I like butter'" — understands what bravery and intelligence it takes to tell the world she's a member of the LGBTQ+ community.