U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) visited Dallas' Salon a la Mode Friday morning for a hair cut on the first day salons were allowed to reopen in the state amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Cruz said he hadn't had a haircut in about three months, due to the pandemic, but that he could think of no better place to get it done than at the Dallas salon whose owner, Shelley Luther, was embroiled in controversy this week after refusing to comply with Gov. Greg Abbott's executive order that salons stay closed until May 8.
So, Cruz said, he jumped on a flight to Dallas early Friday and arrived at the salon at about 10 a.m.
As a stylist trimmed his hair, Cruz chatted with Luther about her experience, background and her love of Texas. Afterward, Cruz spoke to reporters outside where he said it was crazy she was jailed for trying to feed her family.
"I'm proud to stand with Shelley Luther. What happened to her was wrong," Cruz said after his haircut Friday. "It was ridiculous to see somebody sentenced to seven days in jail for cutting hair. That's not right. That's not justice. That's not Texas."
Luther was fined $7,000 and jailed on a contempt of court charge earlier this week by District Court Judge Eric Moyé when she refused to apologize for continuing to violate a temporary restraining order filed by the city of Dallas when she continually defied Abbott's executive order and kept her salon open.
The judge's action caused an outcry from supporters, including the state's top Republican leadership of Abbott, Attorney General Ken Paxton, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, along with the state's junior senator.
On Wednesday, Cruz said on Twitter "7 days in jail for cutting hair?? This is NUTS. And government officials don’t get to order citizens to apologize to them for daring to earn a living."
Even though Luther was jailed on a contempt charge for violating a TRO, and not for violating the governor's executive order, Abbott modified his executive order Thursday morning removing the penalty of jail time for violators in an attempt to get her out of jail.
The criticism directed toward the judge did little to change his mind about Luther being held in contempt and it wasn't until the Texas Supreme Court intervened Thursday that Luther was released from the Dallas County Jail.
Patrick even offered to pay the $7,000 fine imposed by Moyé even though donations to Luther made on a crowdfunding website swelled to $500,000 before further donations were disabled.
Following the visit Friday with the senator, Luther was asked what she was going to do with the donated funds and said she planned on sharing the money with some businesses in South Dallas and with two women in Laredo who were also jailed for keeping their business running in violation of the governor's order.
"Sen. Cruz coming is something I would have never dreamed of and my daughter getting to meet someone so influential, it's overwhelming in a great way," Luther said. "I'm not going to take any of this experience for granted."
NBC 5's Brian Roth contributed to this report.