In the years following the bitter 2016 presidential primary between him and then-candidate Donald Trump, Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas has leapt to ingratiate himself with the man who suggested Cruz's wife was ugly and accused his father of helping assassinate John F. Kennedy.
Cruz's efforts to win the support of Trump's base has resulted in an emulation of Trump's behavior, from bizarre social media antics to the embrace of conspiracy theories regarding the 2020 election.
Now, Cruz is being called out on social media for what many speculate is an adoption of Trump's penchant for tall tales.
Like all too many Republicans, Cruz has railed against pandemic safety guidelines, such as mask and vaccination mandates, most of which are local ordinances that have since been loosened in the latest stage of the pandemic.
Earlier this week, Cruz and his conspiracy theorist colleague, Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, met with a group of protesters from the "People's Convoy," a small group of truckers and their loved ones who are currently riding in circles around the D.C. beltway to protest vaccine mandates what they believe to be a tyrannical government.
During the meeting, Cruz told the truckers a story about his interactions with airline staff.
Putting on his best statesman persona, Cruz told them:
"Every week, I fly back and forth to Houston. Almost without exception, every time I'm on an airplane, either the captain or a flight attendant will come up to me, will hug me, and say, 'Thank you for fighting for us.' Cause I'll tell you, United Airlines, sadly Houston's a hub of them, has fired thousands of pilots and flight attendants. What difference does it make? We're in the District of Columbia. Right now there are mandates affecting kids in D.C. This is wrong."
There's some B.S. to call out.
United Airlines has not fired anywhere close to "thousands of pilots and flight attendants." The corporation has around 67 thousand employees, only 232 of whom refused to comply with its vaccine requirement and were subsequently dismissed. That amounts to only 0.3 percent of its entire workforce.
As for the D.C. mandates, the District has already lifted most vaccine and mask requirements in recreational settings, and has begun to ease mandates on masks in schools.
Though no one can prove whether or not airline staff shows Cruz affection, people found his anecdote hard to believe.
Some likened Cruz's diatribe to Trump's tall tales, which constantly feature people calling Trump "sir" and weeping at the sight of him.
Cruz hasn't provided any additional details about these supposed interactions.