Senate

Ted Cruz slams fellow senator as a ‘complete ass’ over wearing mask

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) called a Democratic senator a “complete ass” for asking that fellow lawmakers wear masks while in the chamber. 

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) had asked Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) to wear a mask while presiding over the Senate on Monday.

While Cruz argued that Sullivan was about 50 feet from Brown, and therefore didn’t need to wear a mask, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other public health authorities recommend that people use face coverings when in public indoor spaces and workspaces regardless of distance.

“This is idiotic,” Cruz tweeted Monday night, adding that Brown “is being a complete ass. He wears a mask to speak — when nobody is remotely near him — as an ostentatious sign of fake virtue.” 

The CDC advises that people “should wear masks in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household.” 

CDC guidance also states that masks are not a substitute for social distancing, and masks should be worn in addition to staying at least six feet apart to most effectively prevent the spread of COVID-19.

It’s especially important to wear masks indoors where COVID-19 spreads more easily because of less ventilation, the CDC states.

Throughout the pandemic, Brown has repeatedly asked his colleagues to wear masks in the chamber. While House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) requires everyone on the House floor to wear masks, there is no similar requirement in the Senate. 

“I don’t wear a mask when I’m speaking like most senators. I don’t need your instruction,” Sullivan said to Brown on the Senate floor.

While Cruz argued that Sullivan was at least 50 feet away from Brown, video of the exchange shows Sullivan was much closer to at least one Senate staffer. 

The CDC updated its guidance recently to state that masks also provide some protection to the wearer, in addition to helping stop others who may not know they are sick from spreading the virus.

The CDC states that COVID-19 is mostly spread via close contact through respiratory droplets exhaled by an infected person, through sneezing, coughing or talking. 

But the agency recently acknowledged it is also possible for the virus to spread beyond six feet indoors through smaller particles that linger in the air for minutes or hours and increase in number with the volume of speech.

Several senators, members of Congress and people in the White House, including President Trump, have contracted COVID-19, though it is often unclear where they got the disease because of a lack of contact tracing within the Capitol and White House.

Several cases last month were tied to White House celebrations announcing the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, with Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) falling ill. 

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) announced Tuesday he will quarantine after being exposed to COVID-19.

Tags Amy Coney Barrett Chuck Grassley Dan Sullivan Donald Trump Mike Lee Nancy Pelosi Ron Johnson Sherrod Brown Ted Cruz Thom Tillis
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