Watch CBS News

Ted Cruz suggests he will no longer wear a mask in the Capitol because he's vaccinated

Texas Senator Ted Cruz suggested he will no longer wear a mask in the U.S. Capitol or on the Senate floor now that he's been vaccinated for COVID-19. Cruz falsely claimed that everyone working in the Senate is vaccinated, and incorrectly cited Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance on masks.

"At this point I've been vaccinated. Everybody working in the Senate has been vaccinated," Cruz told CNN on Thursday while walking through the Capitol maskless.

"CDC has said in small groups, particularly with people who were vaccinated don't need to wear masks," the Texas Republican added, while entering an elevator with two aides wearing masks.

CBS News reached out to Cruz's office about his comments. 

There no evidence that everyone working in the Senate — which would include aides, members of the press and Capitol employees in addition to lawmakers — has been fully vaccinated for COVID-19. At least two Republican senators, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ron Johnson of Washington, have said they will not get the vaccine because they already had COVID. Paul has also refused to wear a mask in the Capitol. 

Many people working elsewhere in the Capitol are not vaccinated at all. House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy said in a letter last month that about 25 percent of Republicans in the House have still not had a shot. The House has a requirement for its members to wear masks in the Capitol, though the Senate does not. 

Half of U.S. senators and more than 140 House members are over the age of 65, an age group known to be especially vulnerable to serious COVID infection. 

Cruz was also incorrect about the CDC's mask guidance, which says vaccinated people should still wear masks in public and could potentially spread an asymptomatic infection to others.

"We're still learning how vaccines will affect the spread of COVID-19," the current guidance says. After you've been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you should keep taking precautions—like wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces—in public places until we know more."

Cruz made headlines last month when he refused a reporter's request to put on a mask during a press conference at the Capitol. Cruz said that everyone there had "been immunized" and told the reporter, "You're welcome to step away, if you'd like." 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.