In the early stages of the viral outbreak that's gone on to kill nearly 250 thousand Americans, President Donald Trump insisted that the highly contagious virus was "a very small problem" in the United States.
As the months went on and the virus began to overtake the United States, Trump railed against basic safety measures like stay-at-home orders and mask wearing, blaming China for conditions in the United States and crediting himself with the leadership of local officials.
After hundreds of thousands of deaths and the loss of a presidential election, some Trump devotees in Congress are still downplaying the damage the virus continues to do—if not with their words, then with their actions.
On Monday, Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK) presided over the Senate floor without wearing a mask, increasing the risk that he could unknowingly spread the virus to others.
While many Senators are socially distant enough when speaking that wearing a mask isn't required, Sullivan had a dais of clerks and aides on the bench around him, which prompted Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) to ask him to wear a mask.
Watch the tense exchange below.
As Brown took the floor, he said:
"I'd start by asking the presiding officer [Sullivan] 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—"
"I don't wear a mask when I'm speaking, like most Senators...I don't need your instruction."
Brown then noted the apparent lack of interest in the Senate for "public health."
On Twitter, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) attempted to defend Sullivan, accusing Brown of sanctimony and "being a complete ass."
Cruz claimed that Sullivan was more than 50 feet away. While that may have been true for Cruz and other Senators, there were aides and others within a few feet of Sullivan.
Upon reading Cruz's tweet, Senator Brown told CNN's John Harwood:
"Ted Cruz and the truth aren't known for their intimacy."
Twitter users largely agreed.
Senator Brown's wife, Connie Schultz, also responded to Cruz's tweet, noting the proximity of the stenographer whom Cruz considered "invisible."
The rest of Twitter began admonishing Cruz as well.
Cruz has yet to respond to the widespread criticisms.