Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas was seen on a flight Sunday without wearing a mask, a photo shows, on the same day he attended a rally with around 200 people.
Hosseh Enad, who works for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, posted a photo of Cruz not wearing a mask while on an American Airlines flight, writing that the photo was taken at 10:45 a.m. Sunday.
“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,” Enad wrote in another tweet of a photo of Cruz not wearing a mask. “Also, here’s a photo of him sitting outside the gate.”
— Hosseh (@hossehenad) July 13, 2020
Cruz, a Republican, attended a rally for Jon Francis, state representative candidate, on Sunday, according to Bud Kennedy of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The event had around 200 to 250 people, with reportedly only about five people there wearing a face covering.
American Airlines responded after the photo of Cruz not wearing a mask on the flight spread online.
“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,” American Airlines told McClatchy News in a statement. “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.”
Cruz flew on one of the airline’s regional partners, the airline told McClatchy News.
“To help promote safety, Senator Cruz wears a mask when traveling, and practices social distancing where possible,” a spokesperson for Cruz told McClatchy News. “Consistent with airline policy, he temporarily removes the mask while eating or drinking. Yesterday during his flight he removed his mask to drink and put it back on afterward. We should all practice common sense measures to slow the spread of the virus.”
American Airlines requires passengers to wear face coverings on flights and will deny boarding to those who don’t adhere to the policy, the airline said. The policy doesn’t apply to young children, those with a medical reason or disability to not wear masks, and while eating or drinking.
The World Health Organization, which previously didn’t tell people to wear face masks in public, said in June that masks should be worn “in light of evolving evidence,” according to Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO.
The CDC started recommending people wear face masks in public in early April.
More than 3 million people have been confirmed infected with COVID-19 in the United States, with another 135,000 confirmed dead nationwide, according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 3,000 people have died from the virus in Texas as of July 13.