'A horrible liar': Ted Cruz torched for spreading lies about Southwest Air pilots and the COVID vaccine
Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) took to social media to attack President Joe Biden while attempting to escalate the Southwest Airlines protest over the airline's COVID-19 vaccine mandate. However, his attempt quickly backfired when he was called out for spreading misinformation.
On Sunday, October 10, the Texas senator tweeted a link to CNBC report about the airline's mass flight cancellations as he targeted Biden over his vaccine mandate. He tweeted, "Joe Biden's illegal vaccine mandate at work! Suddenly, we're short on pilots & air traffic controllers. #ThanksJoe."
Joe Biden’s illegal vaccine mandate at work! Suddenly, we’re short on pilots & air traffic controllers. #ThanksJoe https://t.co/wviOzLt7Iv— Ted Cruz (@Ted Cruz) 1633904695.0
However, Cruz's tweet prompted backlash on Twitter. Shortly after Cruz's remarks, CNBC airline reporter Leslie Roberts asked Cruz for clarity tweeting, "Where did you hear that there is a shortage due to the vaccine mandate?"
The senator replied, "Because I read your article…. All of these challenges have led to an added distraction in the cockpit," he said. "This week's COVID-19 vaccine mandate announcement by the Company only exacerbates the situation."
Hi, Senator. I wrote that article. Where did you hear that there is a shortage due to the vaccine mandate?
— Leslie Josephs (@lesliejosephs) October 11, 2021
New Jersey-based historian Kevin Kruse quickly fired back at Cruz as he highlighted the senator's blunder. "By the company," Kruse said as he clarified, "It's not Joe Biden's vaccine mandate, it's Southwest Airlines. Biden's vaccine mandate hasn't even been implemented yet and is still under review at OSHA. But you're blaming it? You're a horrible liar, and by that, I mean you're horrible at lying."
@tedcruz @lesliejosephs “By the company.” It’s not Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate, it’s Southwest Airlines. Biden’… https://t.co/QBL4wMzHfO— Kevin M. Kruse (@Kevin M. Kruse) 1633972544.0
Although Cruz's remarks were not entirely true, other right-wingers and anti-vaxxers also began echoing the claims. In fact, according to The Daily Beast, Fox News' Tucker Carlson also said, "We've spoken to several people with direct knowledge of what actually did happen. We can tell you the shutdown of Southwest Airlines over the weekend was a direct consequence, it was a reaction to Joe Biden's vaccine mandates."
The Republican senator's lies came shortly after reports circulated about Southwest Airlines' cancellation of approximately 1,800 files nationwide. Initially, the airline claimed the cancellations, which stranded thousands of passengers, were the result of "[air traffic control issues] and disruptive weather."
On Monday, October, 11, the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) released a statement saying, "None of the information from Southwest, its pilots union, or the FAA indicates that this weekend's cancellations were related to vaccine mandates."
However, the airline's claim raised speculation because no other airline had cancellations despite facing the same weather. Like multiple other airlines, Southwest recently announced that the COVID-19 vaccine was a requirement to maintain employment.
The Beast also noted: "The same day that flight cancellations began, Southwest's pilots union filed a motion in federal court to block the company's employee vaccine mandate which they say 'unlawfully imposes new conditions of employment.'"
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