Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is not wearing a mask to protect against COVID-19 while at the Capitol.
Cruz, in remarks to CNN, said vaccinations have made it possible for him to ditch the nose and mouth covering.
"At this point I've been vaccinated," he said. "Everybody working in the Senate has been vaccinated."
He added: "CDC has said in small groups, particularly with people who were vaccinated don't need to wear masks."
CNN noted his remarks came as entered a Capitol elevator with two aides, both of whom were wearing masks.
According to CNN, current guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevent says because "we're still learning how vaccines will affect the spread of COVID-19" it's important that "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."
House members and aides are required to wear masks. The lawmakers face fines if they don't wear them on the floor of the House. However, the Senate has no similar rules.
The Hill said that a reporter had requested Cruz wear a mask during a press event last month.
"Uh, yeah, when I'm talking in front of the TV cameras I'm not going to wear a mask," Cruz told the reporter. "And all of us have been immunized, so...
"You're welcome to step away if you like. The whole point of a vaccine ... CDC guidance is what we're following."
And CNN said that in February, Cruz had complained to the Conservative Political Action Conference that Americans were going to be forced to wear masks for "the next 300 years."
"Not just one mask, two three, four," he said. "You can't have too many masks. How much virtue do you want to signal? This is just dumb."
Last month, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., went off on Dr. Anthony Fauci at a Senate hearing, charging the coronavirus expert’s continued use of masks in public after he was fully vaccinated is "just theater."
In a combative exchange, Paul pressed Fauci about the efficacy of masks— and a frustrated Fauci insisted COVID variants are a problem.
"You’re telling everybody to wear a mask, whether they’ve had an infection or a vaccine," Paul said.
"What I’m saying is: They have immunity, and everybody agrees they have immunity," he continued. "What studies do you have that people that have had the vaccine or have had the infection are spreading the infection? If we’re not spreading the infection, isn’t it just theater? … You’ve had the vaccine, and you’re wearing two masks. Is that just theater?"
Paul was referencing a study that suggests there is immunity after an infection or vaccine.
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