Ted Cruz refused a reporter’s request to wear a mask, telling them to ‘step away if you like’

Ted cruz locker room memes
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex. Andrew Harnik/AFP via Getty Images
  • Ted Cruz refused a reporter’s request to wear a mask during a press conference.
  • He told the reporter: “You’re welcome to step away if you like.”
  • He falsely claimed he was following CDC guidance.
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Sen. Ted Cruz on Wednesday refused to wear a mask during a press conference and falsely claimed that he was following guidance from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The exchange came as the Texas senator held a press conference with other Republican senators to discuss immigration and an upcoming trip to the US border with Mexico.

Footage of the press conference, in which reporters can be seen standing close to Cruz, was broadcast on C-SPAN and shared on Twitter.

A reporter asked: “Would you mind putting a mask on for us?”

“Yeah, when I’m talking to the TV camera I’m not going to wear a mask, and all of us have been immunized,” Cruz said as he gestured to other congressional lawmakers behind him, who are wearing masks.

“It would make us feel better,” the reporter said.

“You’re welcome to step away if you like,” Cruz replied, before saying that being able to not wear a mask was “the whole point of a vaccine.”

-Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) March 25, 2021

He then claimed that “CDC guidance is what we’re following,” although it is not clear which part of CDC guidance Cruz was referring to.

The agency recommends that “people wear masks in public settings, at events and gatherings, and anywhere they will be around other people.”

The guidelines also say: “After you’ve been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you should keep taking precautions in public places like wearing a mask, staying 1.83m apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces until we know more.”

President Joe Biden also, in January, introduced an executive order in January which states that “individuals in Federal buildings and on Federal lands should all wear masks, maintain physical distance, and adhere to other public health measures, as provided in CDC guidelines.”

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has previously defended her own decision not to wear a mask during White House press briefings, telling reporters, per the New York Times: “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.”