Republican Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas) blasted his colleague, Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown (Ohio), on Monday, accusing the lawmaker of "fake virtue" signaling by calling out another Republican lawmaker for not wearing a mask on the Senate floor.
"This is idiotic. [Sen. Brown] is being a complete ass," Cruz wrote on Twitter, reacting to a viral clip of the exchange posted on the platform Monday.
In the clip, Brown scolded Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan (Alaska) for not wearing a mask while presiding over the meeting before launching into a diatribe against President Trump and congressional Republicans as a whole for not taking the coronavirus pandemic seriously.
"He wears a mask to speak — when nobody is remotely near him — as an ostentatious sign of fake virtue," Cruz continued. "[Sen. Sullivan] was over 50 feet away, presiding. Last I checked 50 feet is more than 6 feet."
This is idiotic. @SherrodBrown is being a complete ass. He wears a mask to speak—when nobody is remotely near him—a… https://t.co/VSw9JrKvZt— Ted Cruz (@Ted Cruz)1605585440.0
Cruz pointed out that Brown was located approximately 50 feet away from Sullivan during the exchange and thus well beyond the 6 feet of social distancing recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, it should be noted that Brown was not asking Sullivan to wear a mask for his own safety but rather for the safety of several congressional staffers located much closer to Sullivan.
"I'd start by asking the presiding officer to please wear a mask, as he speaks and people below him are ... I can't tell you what to do but I know that," Brown said in reference to Sullivan after taking the floor from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
Sullivan quickly interjected: "I don't wear a mask when I'm speaking, like most senators. I don't need your instruction."
Brown then shot back: "I know you don't need my instruction but there clearly isn't much interest in this body in public health. We have a president who hasn't shown up at the coronavirus task force meeting in months. We have a majority leader that calls us back here to vote on an unqualified nominee ... and to vote for judge after judge after judge."
Brown argued the ongoing activities in the chamber are unnecessarily "exposing" large numbers of people to the virus, "but the majority leader just doesn't seem to care."
The Democratic lawmaker then pivoted to Trump, saying, "the American people sent a clear message in this election; they voted for stability. They rejected an administration that has failed them in the middle of a public health crisis and an economic crisis."