In April, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued guidelines urging Americans to wear facial coverings in public after experts saw the number of asymptomatic carriers unknowingly transmitting the virus that's killed over 200 thousand Americans.
At the time, President Donald Trump said he didn't intend to wear one and it would be weeks before he finally wore one publicly.
Since then, a growing number of Trump's supporters have compared masks to muzzles, falsely claiming their use isn't to slow the spread of the virus, but to test the ability of government officials to impose their will on the American people.
This has only been exacerbated by Trump's repeated skepticism of mask use, despite the guidelines issued by his own officials. This skepticism has been roundly criticized by Democratic lawmakers and Trump's opponent in the presidential election: Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn attempted to paint Democrats as hypocritical with a tweet showing Democratic Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) talking closely without masks.
Cornyn's implication was that the exchange between these Senators, all of whom sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee, occurred during the ongoing committee hearings to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett's nomination to the Supreme Court.
The Senator failed to mention that the photo was actually taken in 2018—two years before the highly contagious virus spread throughout the United States.
People were quick to point this out.
⚠️Mask misinformation—TX Senator John Cornyn tweets a misleading photo about Dems not wearing masks. It was a photo from 2018. This is the kinda of disgusting mask fake info that is ruining pandemic response. C'mon @JohnCornyn—you follow my account, so show some decency. #COVID19 https://t.co/E0OM3P4XNr
— Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) October 14, 2020
Cornyn just retweeted a picture of Democratic Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) and Cory Booker (N.J.) not wearing masks in 2018
there was no pandemic in 2018
— PoliticsVideoChannel (@politvidchannel) October 14, 2020
Sen. Cornyn is spreading disinformation. This photo is old.
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) October 14, 2020
This photo, RT'd by @JohnCornyn, is from 2018. It is not from this week. https://t.co/YihWYgW8sg…
*Reposting after @AMathemagician pointed out that photo, verifying the date. Democrats originally fired back, pointe this out to the media. https://t.co/TGlURNKY7Y
— Lisa Desjardins (@LisaDNews) October 14, 2020
Why would they wear masks in a photo taken in September 2018? You're promoting disinformation.
— Alexandra Chalupa (@AlexandraChalup) October 14, 2020
Old photo, do better.
— David ex Trump voter for Biden Weissman (@davidmweissman) October 14, 2020
Cornyn deleted the tweet and acknowledged its disinformation.
But that didn't stop others from continuing to roast him.
Welp, that photo was taken before the pandemic so masks would have been surprising. But how about this one? This one was actually taken DURING the pandemic. It's a photo of an irresponsible Senator setting a bad example by not wearing a mask on a plane during a deadly pandemic. pic.twitter.com/vdWALoeIKN
— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) October 14, 2020
Sen. Cornyn, your original erroneous tweet has hundreds of RTs. What are you going to do about it? This isn't enough.
— Mark Jacob (@MarkJacob16) October 14, 2020
so you'll take it down? apologize? wear a mask? resign?
— Luke Zaleski (@ZaleskiLuke) October 14, 2020
Cornyn is currently fighting to maintain his Senate seat against Democratic opponent MJ Hegar.