Sen. Ted Cruz is no longer wearing a mask while in the Capitol complex or on the Senate floor now that he is vaccinated, he revealed this week.
Speaking to CNN Thursday, Cruz (R-Texas) explained, “At this point, I’ve been vaccinated. Everybody working in the Senate has been vaccinated.”
“CDC has said in small groups, particularly with people who were vaccinated don’t need to wear masks,” he continued.
While lawmakers and congressional staff were given priority access to the Pfizer vaccine in December, as well as additional staff being inoculated earlier this year, there are many other Capitol employees and reporters on the premises who have yet to be vaccinated.
Cruz got into a spat with a Capitol Hill reporter late last month over his refusal to wear a mask, though at the time he was speaking into a microphone and was socially distanced from the reporters.
The Texas senator, who was taking part in a press gaggle alongside a group of fellow Republicans, was asked, “Would you mind putting on a mask for us?” before he could utter a word into the microphone.
“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.”
Just a week before, 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.”