Texas Sen. Ted Cruz joined President Barack Obama on Air Force One on a trip to Dallas Tuesday for a memorial service for the five police officers ambushed and killed last week.
Cruz – a frequent critic of the Obama administration – was seen on the parking lot outside of the air terminal at Joint Base Andrews, where guests on the president’s plane typically arrive.
The invitation for Cruz to join the president on the flight is seen as a show of unity following the deadliest day for law enforcement since 9/11 and as the nation continues to grapple with widespread protests over a recent string of police-related shootings.
The Dallas shooter killed five police officers and wounded seven others at a protest march in downtown Dallas against the recent killings of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota by police.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California also joined Obama on Air Force One and attend the service in Dallas. Former President George W. Bush, who served as the governor of Texas from 1995 to 2000, is expected to speak during the memorial service.
This is the second time in less than a month that Obama has invited a major critic onto Air Force One following a mass shooting.
In the wake of the massacre at an Orlando gay nightclub, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio joined Obama when the president travelled to city to meet with families of victims and survivors of the shooting.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Cruz's presence, as well as speeches from former President Bush and GOP Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, are examples of how the country is not nearly as divided as it might seem given political debates, campaign rhetoric and congressional dysfunction.
"It's in moments of tragedy, that this unity is revealed," he said.
With reporting by The Associated Press.