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Photo showing Cruz without visible face covering on airplane catches attention

'Yesterday during his flight he removed his mask to drink and put it back on afterward,' says a Cruz spokesperson

Sen. Ted Cruz on June 24, 2020
Sen. Ted Cruz on June 24, 2020
(Jonathan Newton-Pool/Getty Images)
Updated: July 13, 2020 - 5:51pm

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Sen. Ted Cruz has come under scrutiny for a photograph that shows him on an airplane without any facial covering visible in the shot.

A Cruz spokesperson told The Hill that the senator uses a mask while traveling but had taken it off to drink. 

The Texas Republican is seen without anything over his face but the photo also shows him holding a cup. 

The image was shared by Hosseh Enad, who works for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, but wasn't taken by him.

"A friend of a friend posted it, so I'm waiting to hear which airline it was," Enad said in a tweet, before later posting that it was an American Airlines flight. Media reports indicate Cruz was on a flight with an American Airlines regional partner.

Another photo purportedly shows the senator without a mask in the airport.

"To help promote safety, Senator Cruz wears a mask when traveling, and practices social distancing where possible. Consistent with airline policy, he temporarily removes the mask while eating or drinking,” the Cruz spokesperson reportedly told The Hill. "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.” 

The senator's office also highlighted a photograph of Cruz on another flight Sunday in which he was wearing a face mask.

"We are committed to protecting the health and safety of all those who fly with us, and we are reviewing the details of this matter,” an American Airlines spokesperson told The Hill.