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It confused social media users, most of whom were asking on Thursday if the footage was real.
The fly is seen buzzing around the Texas senator in a six-second clip, before it lands on Mr Cruz’s lips.
He then takes a swig of water, appearing to swallow the fly whole.
On Wednesday night, the clip caused #ToadCruz to trend on Twitter on Wednesday night, according to Trends24, and was in first place for most of Thursday, attracting 22,000 tweets.
It beat #FriendsReunion in reaching second place on Twitter trends.
Users and commentators alike were appalled at the faux fly swallowing, from 2019, with many offering-up criticism of the GOP figure.
“Ted Cruz LITERALLY Ate a Fly on Live TV because Ted Cruz is #ToadCruz, “ radio journalist Dean Obeidallah wrote. “(BTW this is 100% real and it's from Fox News last night- you can see the fly crawl into Cruz's mouth)”.
— (((DeanObeidallah))) (@DeanObeidallah) May 27, 2021
Obeidallah added hours later: “Okay looks like the clip was not from last night and the fly was added - but it's still fun!”
Thousands of others were also confused, asking for confirmation it was fake, or real.
“I am desperately trying to find out if that video of Ted Cruz swallowing a fly is real,” wrote political commentator Brian Tyler Cohen.
According to Newsweek, the clip is from an interview Mr Cruz gave to Fox News' Sean Hannity on 28 June 2019.
It was widely compared to the 2020 vice presidential debate, when a fly was seen landing on former vice president Mike Pence. That incident was not fake.