We live in politically charged times and no seemingly mundane issue has become so politically charged as whether to wear a face mask in public. Now Ted Cruz finds himself surrounded in controversy and the spotlight of an American Airlines investigation after he was photographed on a flight without a mask.
Ted Cruz Face Mask Controversy Leads To American Airlines Investigation
I had hoped President Trump’s decision to wear a mask during his recent visit to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center would put this issue to bed, but an internet flurry erupted yesterday when it was revealed that U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R – TX) may not have been wearing his mask while flying American Airlines on Sunday.
The following “smoking gun” was posted with caption:
“Captured today at 10:45am — @TedCruz on a commercial flight, refusing to wear a mask.”
— Hosseh (@hossehenad) July 13, 2020
Indeed, the Senator has his mask off…but he is also drinking coffee.
Someone else posted a photo with his mask on:
— Comfortably Smug (@ComfortablySmug) July 13, 2020
Small problem: he’s wearing the same outfit, but this is a different aircraft. Notice the armrests and air nozzles…
But the pictures do show, at least at one point in history, he did not wear a mask when he was drinking coffee and wore a mask when he was not. AA mask policy does not require a mask while drinking onboard. A Cruz spokesperson told The Hill that this was a connecting flight on the same day, proving Cruz plays by the rules onboard.
Apparently Cruz also did not wear a mask in the gate area:
For those trying to argue that he was drinking, it’s not hard to have a mask on and undo one side to take a sip then put it back on. Most people take their time drinking coffee.
Also, here’s a photo of him sitting outside the gate: pic.twitter.com/C7cbm3pQH0
— Hosseh (@hossehenad) July 13, 2020
Which wouldn’t be the first time:
“isn’t everyone supposed to be wearing masks including Senators?” https://t.co/OZi4oaeJJQ
From DCA’s website: “face coverings are required for everyone at Reagan National Airport” pic.twitter.com/GXOu9VX86N
— PoPville (@PoPville) June 12, 2020
(He like that outfit, doesn’t he…?)
A Cruz spokesperson added:
“To help promote safety, Senator Cruz wears a mask when traveling, and practices social distancing where possible. Consistent with airline policy, he temporarily removes the mask while eating or drinking.”
A spokesperson for American Airlines said:
“For the well-being of our customers and team members, we require face coverings to be worn onboard, and we expect our customers to comply with our policies when they choose to travel with us. As we do in all instances like these, we reviewed the details of the matter, and while our policy does not apply while eating or drinking, we have reached out to Sen. Cruz to affirm the importance of this policy as part of our commitment to protecting the health and safety of the traveling public.”
Really? How did you “review” the matter? CCTV? Passenger witnesses? An investigation over a passenger who was drinking coffee without a mask on?
Look, Ted: wear the darn mask. I hate it too, but I suck it up and wear it when I’m out and about. You don’t have to wear it while sipping coffee, but what’s your excuse for the gate area?
Still, I find our priorities curious. With the United States crumbling before our eyes, do we seriously have nothing better to do than to speculate about the extent to which a man wore a mask? I guess the answer is yes judging by this post and the interest the issue has generated…
On A Personal Note
I met Ted Cruz and his wife Heidi while attending a Kentucky Derby afterparty in 2016. This was around the height of the “Lying Ted” phase of Trump’s campaign and earlier that same day Cruz had dropped out of the race. He was visibly shaken…you could see it in his eyes and hear it in his voice. We had a nice conversation…he seems to be a decent guy who I’ve met on other occasions as well.
What does that matter? Whether Democrat or Republican, I tend to like people I have met and who have been kind. Sharing an elevator with then-Senator Barack Obama in 2005 endeared me to him. Same with meeting Joe Biden (and Ted Kennedy and Orrin Hatch and Chuck Grassley) during the confirmation hearings for Chief Justice John Roberts in 2005.
I’m not just name-dropping here, I’m just much more willing to cut Cruz some slack because he proved himself to be gracious personally. It has nothing to do with his politics and everything to do with his kindness.
That may not be a reason to vote for someone, but it is a reason to give them the benefit of the doubt. I’ll give Cruz the benefit of the doubt here. But please Ted, just put the mask on.