After a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee operative aboard the same American Airlines flight as Ted Cruz on Sunday tweeted a picture of the senator apparently relaxing on the plane, sans mask, the airline said it would reach out to Cruz. American requires all passengers to wear face coverings during their flights, though they can be removed while eating or drinking, and Cruz is holding a cup of coffee in the photo. "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," a company rep tells the Hill. Cruz's fellow passenger also tweeted a photo of the senator waiting at the gate sans mask before the flight.
The response from Cruz's camp: "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. 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." Cruz's rep also pointed to a separate tweet showing Cruz on a different flight, wearing a mask; the spokesperson said that photo was also taken Sunday. Yahoo News reports that American Airlines last month removed conservative activist Brandon Straka from a flight when he refused to wear a mask, and banned him from all of its flights as long as the requirement is in place. (Read more Ted Cruz stories.)