One result of the coronavirus pandemic and the mitigation measures taken during its outbreak is the rise of the narc – a busy body ready to tattle on someone who appears to not be following the rules. Case in point – a Democrat operative took a photo of Senator Ted Cruz on a flight on one of American Airlines’ domestic regional partners. Cruz’s offense? He wasn’t wearing a mask at the moment that photo was taken.
Perhaps I should call Hosseh Enad, a Democratic Congressional Committee operative, a Karen. (See what I did there?) He posted a picture on social media. The tweet read, “Captured today at 10:45am — @TedCruz on a commercial flight, refusing to wear a mask.” The problem with that sentence is that Cruz was holding a cup of coffee, meaning he was drinking coffee at the time. It is unclear if the Democrat operative took the photo or simply used someone else’s. Standard airline policy is that a passenger wears a face mask while on a flight unless drinking or eating. The senator literally had his excuse for not wearing a mask at that moment in his hand.
— Hosseh (@hossehenad) July 13, 2020
It is hyperbole to state that Cruz “refused” to wear a mask. Where is the proof of that? The man has a cup of coffee and is looking at his phone. To prove his lame point, Enad lectures about how easy it is to wear a mask and drink at the same time, plus, as a bonus, he includes a photo of Cruz sitting at the gate sans mask. He also posts American Airlines’ policy. The swampy operative is on a roll.
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.
Also, here's a photo of him sitting outside the gate: pic.twitter.com/C7cbm3pQH0
— Hosseh (@hossehenad) July 13, 2020
Cruz’s staff released a response to the tweet.
“To help promote safety, Senator Cruz wears a mask when traveling, and practices social distancing where possible. Consistent with airline policy, he temporarily removes the mask while eating or drinking,” a Cruz spokesperson told The Hill.
The spokesperson added, “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.”
So, after Democrats and other Cruz critics had a field day with the tweet on social media, American Airlines announced it is ‘reviewing’ the matter. The airline has “reached out” to Cruz.
“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,” an American Airlines spokesperson told The Hill.
A tweet was posted of Cruz wearing a mask on another flight, following airline policy.
— Comfortably Smug (@ComfortablySmug) July 13, 2020
It is not clear which airport Cruz was sitting in at the gate without a mask. Policies vary, depending on the airport. As of June 30, masks are required inside 20 of the 30 large hub airports in the U.S. Senator Cruz is chairman of the Senate Commerce subcommittee with jurisdiction over U.S. airlines and the Federal Aviation Administration.
This incident shows the problems with inconsistent policies in mitigating the coronavirus. Since restaurants and other places that serve food and drink re-opened with mask requirements, I’ve pondered how exactly the policies would be enforced. Obviously a person eating or drinking cannot keep a face mask on. As with the case of drinking a cup of coffee, it takes a while to drink it. Is the person expected to keep covering his or her mouth and nose between sips? Off and on, off and on.
Is American Airlines going to decide to ban Senator Cruz from future flights as they do to other passengers not conforming to their mask policy? I seriously doubt that. Meanwhile, the Democrat operative used the viral moment to fundraise for the party. That is what this is all about – raising money and winning the election in November. He posted tweets to support LGBTQ candidates and the DCCC’s Virtual Action Center. He knows Cruz wasn’t doing anything wrong. It’s his job, though, to stir the pot in hopes of raising money for Democrats. No doubt if Cruz was marching in a BLM protest without wearing a mask, the righteous indignation would not be an issue at all.