In Washington on Monday, the Texas senator Ted Cruz complained that supreme court confirmation hearings have become increasingly angry and confrontational.
In Bozeman, Montana the previous day, however, the Republican was filmed becoming angry and confrontational with airport staff and an armed police officer.
A short video, appearing to have been shot from behind a check-in desk, was posted to Reddit. It showed the masked senator remonstrating with the two staff members, both women, and the male officer. It was not possible to hear what was said.
A caption said: “Ted Cruz accosting airline employees today at BZN after missing his flight. Law enforcement had to be called when he wouldn’t calm down.”
An airport official told the Daily Mail the senator missed his check-in window for a flight and became “frustrated” as other options were limited due to spring break traffic.
“One of our public safety officers was in the ticket lobby and was asked to assist with a frustrated passenger at the United ticket counter (which is not unusual),” said Scott Humphrey, the Bozeman airport deputy director.
“Once travel options were explained to the passenger, he was rebooked and departed Bozeman later that evening. Our [officer] didn’t realise he was dealing with Senator Cruz until after the fact.”
Cruz made it to Washington for the opening on Monday of hearings for Ketanji Brown Jackson, Joe Biden’s first supreme court nominee.
The senator did not immediately comment about his experience at Bozeman airport. Critics online did.
Rick Wilson, a former Republican operative and co-founder of the anti-Trump Lincoln Project, said: “Ted Cruz getting aggro with airline counter folks is so very on-brand. ‘Well, sir, if you don’t like your flight options, we can drive you to the train station.’”
Keith Olbermann, a writer and TV host, said: “So Ted Cruz was apparently so out-of-control abusive to airline staff at the airport in Bozeman, Montana, that law enforcement had to get involved. It must’ve been snowing.”
That was a reference to events in Texas and Mexico last year, when Cruz left his state during a lethal big freeze to fly out for a family break in Cancun.
Amid controversy, Cruz admitted his mistake and flew home. Online, some altered Donald Trump’s old nickname for his rival, Lyin’ Ted, to call the senator Flyin’ Ted instead.
Responding to coverage of his Cancun escapade, Cruz said: “Here’s a suggestion. Just don’t be assholes. Just, you know, treat each other as human beings, have to some degree some modicum of respect.”