A photo of Republican Senator Ted Cruz sitting on an American Airlines flight without a mask has the internet up in arms, with ‘witnesses’ claiming he was barefaced the whole flight while his staff say he only removed it to drink.

The GOP senator was spotted in a Houston airport and on board an hour-long flight to Dallas Monday morning without a mask, according to Democratic Party staffer Hosseh Enad, who posted the photos on Twitter later that day.

Captured today at 10:45am — @TedCruz on a commercial flight, refusing to wear a mask.

Cruz is seen in the on-board image holding a coffee in one hand and his phone in the other. However, Democratic marketing strategist John Aravosis claimed he’d “confirmed” the Texas Republican not only remained unmasked through the entire flight, but wasn’t even asked to don a face covering by flight attendants. Cruz “put all [American Airlines’] passengers’ lives in danger,” he raged.

And I just confirmed that none of the American flight attendants on the flight said anything to Cruz about him not wearing a mask, in clear violation of American’s rules.

A spokesperson for Cruz countered that he had merely removed the face covering to eat and drink, insisting the senator “wears a mask when traveling and practices social distancing where possible.” He doesn’t appear to have a seatmate in the on-board photo.

A spokesperson for @tedcruz says the Senator put his mask back on after he finished his drink. The statement does not mention anything about why the Senator was seen without a mask the terminal. @wfaa

Many on social media were nevertheless demanding Cruz be punished for his “recklessness.”

They should be (mildly) disciplined and Cruz should be banned from AA flights.

Quite a few included American Airlines in their rage.


American Air must fire everyone of them. Headline: The hubris of Cruz loses flight attendants their job.

Different rules for different people. Had it been you or I or a POC, they would have refused to close the doors and take off, called the cops and beat the person as they drug them off the flight. But this POS can put the entire plane at risk. Those attendants should be suspended.

Some, however, pointed to the fact that both complainants worked for the Democratic Party as a possible mitigating factor in Cruz’s “crime.”

American Airlines, which mandates passengers wear face coverings when not eating or drinking, responded to the furor with a sprinkling of repetitive tweets promising that it was “reviewing the details of this matter.”

The airline banned conservative activist Brandon Straka last month for his refusal to wear a mask on board a flight from New York to Dallas, physically escorting the #WalkAway founder off the plane after Straka insisted the mask requirement was not a law and declined to comply.

Airlines for America, an airline trade group, warned travelers last month that those who refused to wear masks on carriers that required them could be blacklisted by that company. However, they implied that any disciplinary action would come after the flight landed, not before it took off.

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