Texas has been stuck with ... we mean represented by ... U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz for nearly eight years, and during that time, he has, on occasion, proven to be a bit of an embarrassment. (See exhibits A, B, C, D.) It’s rich, then, that on Monday he called U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat from Ohio, a “complete ass” for abiding by global and national COVID-19 public health guidelines.
Brown’s offense? Wearing a mask on the Senate floor.
Cruz delivered his rebuke in a tweet, which included a video clip of Brown condemning Alaska Republican U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan for going maskless indoors.
“This is idiotic,” Cruz wrote. “@SherrodBrown is being a complete ass. He wears a mask to speak — when nobody is remotely near him — as an ostentatious sign of fake virtue. @DanSullivan_AK was over 50 feet away, presiding. Last I checked 50 feet is more than 6 feet.”
For the record, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend wearing a mask indoors in addition to remaining at least 6-feet apart. Tiny virus-laden droplets can hang in the air for minutes or hours after release.
Of course, Twitter was quick to point out flaws in Cruz’s logic.
CNN journalist John Harwood responded to Cruz’s tweet, stating Republican U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, who was also on the Senate floor Monday, had to quarantine the following day because of COVID-19 exposure. Grassley, 87, announced Tuesday night that he'd tested positive for the disease, according to AP News.
Some remarked Cruz’s claim that “nobody” was close to Sullivan was false; in screenshots from the video clip, a staffer can be seen just feet away.
“It’s pretty revealing that you don’t consider the staffers right in front of Sullivan as people worth protecting. Only the senators matter, right?” historian Kevin M. Kruse said in a tweet.
Others wrote that instead of picking petty fights in the senatorial schoolyard, Cruz should be working to help Texans who are suffering during the pandemic. Several Twitter users responded with articles covering the miles-long food bank line in Dallas last weekend.
“.@tedcruz once again worrying about political theater instead of his constituents,” said Michael Drake, a speechwriter for New York State Department of Financial Services.
Soon, several of Cruz’s own constituents piled on, with some asking what he’s done for the more than 1 million Texans who have contracted coronavirus. One remarked that some Texas towns are becoming overwhelmed by the number of COVID-19 deaths.
“Hi @tedcruz we’re getting mobile morgues in Midland/Odessa. Our hospitals are full. Midland Memorial lost a staff member to COVID today. In case you’ve forgotten we are your constituents. Maybe at least pretend you care,” a user called @BlueTX2020 wrote.
The Texas senator isn’t the only high-profile Republican to decry mask usage.
President Donald Trump consistently refused to wear one, even after he became ill with COVID-19. The same can be said for East Texas U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert. Fox News commentator Tomi Lahren once suggested then-Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden should “carry a purse with that mask.”
It’s not that Republicans are immune to expiring from coronavirus, though. One-time presidential candidate Herman Cain died from the disease after attending a Trump rally in June, according to The Washington Post.
At the event in Tulsa, Cain was photographed not wearing a mask.