Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, confused Washington state and Western Australia to claim that Democrats had banned dancing, in a tweet he has since deleted
Cruz shared a tweet from conspiracy theorist Paul Joseph Watson that included a screenshot of a Facebook comment in which the government of Western Australia (known by the abbreviation WA, as is the U.S. state in the Pacific Northwest) advised a woman that "dancing is strictly not permitted" on New Year's Eve under the region's strict COVID rules.
Cruz apparently mistook "WA Government" to mean Washington state and falsely suggested that its leaders had banned dancing.
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"Blue-state Dems are power-drunk authoritarian kill-joys," he wrote before taking down the tweet. "Washington State: NO DANCING ALLOWED!!! Any rational & free citizen: Piss off."
Cruz's congressional colleagues mocked the senator, who has publicly discussed his presidential aspirations, for failing to do even minimal fact-checking before posting.
"Since @tedcruz deleted this, I'll post as a reminder to all of us to DO YOUR RESEARCH before posting misinformation," tweeted Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill.
"Hey Ted, WA is Western Australia. But cool tweet," wrote Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., before taunting the senator for deleting his "faux outrage tweet."
Cruz earlier this year attacked Australia over its stringent COVID restrictions before getting dunked on by an Australian official.
"I've always said Australia is the Texas of the Pacific," Cruz wrote before arguing that the "Covid tyranny of their current government is disgraceful and sad. Individual liberty matters. I stand with the people of Australia."
Michael Gunner, chief minister of the Australia's Northern Territory — who appeared in a video shared by Cruz — shot back that "we don't need your lectures."
"Here are some facts. Nearly 70,000 Texans have tragically died from Covid. There have been zero deaths in the Territory," Gunner wrote. "You know nothing about us. And if you stand against a lifesaving vaccine, then you sure as hell don't stand with Australia. I love Texas (go Longhorns), but when it comes to COVID, I'm glad we are nothing like you."
Cruz, who views himself as Trump's heir apparent after losing the 2016 Republican nomination amid Trump's relentless mockery, has spent months stoking conservative outrage over COVID restrictions and vaccines.
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Cruz lashed out last month at Big Bird of "Sesame Street" after the beloved Muppet appeared in a PSA promoting vaccines.
"Government propaganda … for your 5 year old!" Cruz tweeted.
In November, Cruz accused Dr. Anthony Fauci of lying to Congress, which Fauci has repeatedly denied, and even suggested that the government's leading infectious-disease specialist should be prosecuted. Fauci fired back in an interview with CBS News.
"I have to laugh at that. I should be prosecuted? What happened on 6 January, senator?" Fauci said, referring to Cruz's role in voting to block the certification of President Biden's election win. "I'm just going to do my job and I'm going to be saving lives and they're going to be lying."
Cruz's continued criticism of Democrats' attempt to control the spread of COVID is somewhat ironic since he claimed during the Trump administration that alarm over the pandemic was just a partisan attack on Republicans.
"If it ends up that Biden wins in November — I hope he doesn't, I don't think he will — but if he does, I guarantee you the week after the election, suddenly all those Democratic governors, all those Democratic mayors, will say, 'Everything's magically better. Go back to work. Go back to school. Suddenly all the problems are solved,'" Cruz claimed in July of 2020. "You won't to have to wait for Biden to be sworn in."
MSNBC host Chris Hayes reminded Cruz of his failed prediction earlier this year, noting it was "utterly, completely, in every possible conceivable way wrong."
"But it's so revealing," Hayes said. "Because Ted Cruz himself only views the pandemic through a political prism. And so he projects it onto everyone else. He thinks Democrats do, too."
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