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Sen. Ted Cruz took on a Capitol Hill reporter pestering him to wear a mask to make the journalist “feel better,” despite Cruz being vaccinated and in compliance with CDC guidelines.
The drama was captured during a press gaggle with a group of Senate Republicans on Wednesday, when Cruz removed his mask and stepped up to the microphone.
Before the Texas senator could utter a word, he was interrupted by an unidentified reporter who asked, “Would you mind putting on a mask for us?”
“Yeah, when I’m talking to the TV camera, I’m not going to wear a mask,” Cruz responded, adding, “All of us have been immunized,” before pointing toward his Senate colleagues.
The unnamed reporter then replied, “It’d make us feel better.”
“You’re welcome to step away if you’d like,” Cruz said before pausing.
“[That’s] the whole point of a vaccine,” he continued, noting how every member of Congress had been vaccinated for months. “CDC guidance is what we’re following.”
Cruz maintained his position after the incident was broadcast on C-Span — and subsequently, in the Twittersphere — writing on the social media platform, “Lefty reporters have lost their minds.”
Cruz is not the first famous political figure to face criticism recently for not wearing a mask while speaking to the media.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki was forced to defend her position of not wearing a mask while speaking from the briefing room podium earlier this year.
Speaking to the New York Times in January, Psaki argued, “If health and medical experts told me I should wear a mask while I was briefing, I would do it.
“But I am following the guidelines they are giving us, as is the president.”
Members of Congress, as well as their staffers, have been fully inoculated with one of the COVID-19 vaccines since late December.
Last week, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) sparred with Dr. Anthony Fauci during a Senate hearing about the need for masks once an individual has been fully vaccinated — and completed the recommended waiting period.
While Paul, a doctor himself, argued that masks were “for show” once someone was inoculated, Fauci said he “totally disagree[d].”
“Let me just state for the record that masks are not theater, masks are protective,” Fauci replied.
“If you have immunity, they’re theater,” Paul snapped back. “If you already have immunity, you’re wearing a mask to give comfort to others.”