WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) recently got into a brief verbal sparring match with a reporter over his decision not to wear a mask at the beginning of a Capitol Hill press conference on the crisis at the United States’ southern border, according to video taken at the event.
After saying “good afternoon” at the start of the conference on Wednesday, a reporter off-screen can be heard asking a mask-less Cruz if he would mind putting a mask on for the safety of the people in the audience due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“When I’m talking to the TV camera, I’m not going to be wearing a mask,” Cruz replied, and then gestured to his entourage and added, “And all of us have been immunized, so….”
“It would make us feel better,” the reporter responded.
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But the Texas Senator was adamant about not putting on a mask, telling the reporter that it was up to him if he wished to remain and cover the conference or not, and stressed that he was following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) protocols.
“You’re welcome to step away if you like,” Cruz said, chuckling. “The whole point of a vaccine, CDC guidance is what we’re following.” And at that point Cruz began the press conference, without wearing a mask.
However, the Senator was only partially correct about his adherence to CDC guidelines. According to the CDC website’s COVID-19 vaccine FAQ, individuals who have been vaccinated can feel free to gather indoors without masks or social distancing when with other vaccinated individuals, but when in public the CDC still recommends wearing masks until more of the general population has gotten access to the vaccine.