As cases of the virus that's killed over 600 thousand Americans continue to rise—along with hospitalizations—Republican lawmakers an media personalities remain steadfast in their efforts to discourage any modicum of government intervention to keep people safe.
They've railed against door-to-door efforts to supply information regarding the vaccine in under-vaccinated communities. They've decried businesses and municipalities requiring vaccines for risky recreational activities. They've slammed safety guidelines recommending that Americans begin donning masks again in crowded indoor settings.
Near-universally disliked Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas became the latest lawmaker to continue this trend as he criticized the growing popularity of private businesses requiring their employees and customers be vaccinated.
"My view is we should have no COVID mandates. What does that mean? That means no mask mandates, no vaccine mandates, that means no vaccine passports. We shouldn't step into the regime where the government says 'show us your papers' if you want to do the basic activities of life."
Cruz's statement is riddled with misleading information. First of all, there is no federally implemented vaccine passport system. While some cities, New York being the first, are requiring proof of vaccination for restaurants, theatrical events, and other situations, the federal rule is that private businesses can choose to require vaccinations. The federal government is not forcing them to do so.
Secondly, Cruz insisted the government shouldn't say "'Show us your papers' if you want to do the basic activities of life." Vaccinations against other diseases are already required of those entering the United States, of United States Military servicemembers, and of school children. All Americans have to show photo ID to partake in 21+ activities, to drive, and to travel. Cruz himself is a strong proponent of a nationwide photo ID requirement to vote.
Americans also are required to brandish their passports in order to travel abroad, as Cruz undoubtedly knows. Earlier this year, the Senator faced national outrage after he flew to sunny Cancún, Mexico to escape a devastating winter storm in Texas that left millions of his constituents without power.
It was this hypocrisy that veteran journalist Dan Rather called out in his rebuttal.
Social media users cheered Rather's response.
Never one to let trivial duties of the United States Senate disrupt his god-given passion for Twitter feuds, Cruz soon responded.
The Senator alluded to the Killian documents controversy, falsely claiming that Rather counterfeited explosive allegations regarding then-President George W. Bush's time in the U.S. Air Force. Though Rather broke the story and failed to authenticate the documents, neither Rather nor the network were the ones behind the forgeries. The anchor, along with other CBS employees, were fired over the scandal.
But Rather wasn't the only one mocking the Senator, and even Cruz won't have time to push back against all the responses noting the absurdity of his latest argument.
This isn't the first time Rather and Cruz have exchanged Twitter barbs. Cruz called Rather a "professional liar" on the site earlier this year.