A photograph of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) taken Sunday on an American Airlines flight appears to show the Texas junior senator without a mask or face covering.
Twitter user Hosseh Enad posted the photo on Sunday evening, alleging that Cruz refused to wear a mask.
Enad, who works for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, posted a second photo to Twitter that appeared to show Cruz sitting at the gate without a mask.
Enad also included a screenshot of airline's policy which indicates that face coverings should be worn while traveling.
The American Airlines policy states that face coverings can be removed to eat or drink, but should be put back on once the traveler is finished.
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According to Cruz's Communications Director, Lauren Blair Aronson, Cruz removed his mask to drink his coffee and replaced it afterward.
“To help promote safety, Senator Cruz wears a mask when traveling, and practices social distancing where possible," Aronson said. "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.”
American Airlines said in a statement on June 15 that the airline would deny boarding to customers who refuse to comply with the mask requirement and may deny future travel as well.
Young children, individuals with disabilities, or those with medical reasons that prevent them from wearing masks are exempt from this requirement, the airline said.