Updated: 6:37 AM PDT, March 26, 2021
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. The exchange came as the Texas senator held a press conference with other Republican senators to discuss immigration and an upcoming trip to the U.S. 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.
“You’re welcome to step away if you like,” Cruz said.
Cruz then grinned and said it was “the whole point of the vaccine.”
“CDC guidance is what we’re following,” Cruz said.
CDC guidance suggests that those with vaccinations continue to wear masks. “Although COVID-19 vaccines are effective at keeping you from getting sick, scientists are still learning how well vaccines prevent you from spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 to others, even if you do not have symptoms,” the CDC writes. “Early data show the vaccines do help keep people with no symptoms from spreading COVID-19, but we are learning more as more people get vaccinated.
“We’re also still learning how long COVID-19 vaccines protect people,” the CDC notes. “For these reasons, people who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 should keep taking precautions in public places, until we know more, like wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart from others, avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces, and washing your hands often.”
Further, President Joe Biden issued an executive order mandating anyone working in or visiting federal buildings or federal lands to wear masks, maintain physical distance, and adhere to other public health measures, as provided in CDC guidelines.