Sen. John Cornyn attacks his colleagues for not wearing masks — in 2018

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Cornyn suggested his Democratic colleagues were disregarding coronavirus prevention measures by using a photo taken years before the coronavirus appeared.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) spread around a tweet on Wednesday showing three Democratic senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee huddled together without masks — trying to play it off as Democrats being irresponsible about the coronavirus during the Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Amy Coney Barrett.

However, the photo Cornyn tweeted was taken during the 2018 confirmation hearings for now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh — nearly two years before the COVID-19 pandemic, a time when there was no need to wear masks or stay apart from one another because there was not a deadly airborne virus.

The photo of Democratic Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Cory Booker of New Jersey, and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, was first posted by Mary Ann Mendoza — a Republican and anti-immigrant activist whose antisemitic retweets got her nixed from a speaking slot at the Republican National Convention.

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Mendoza first tweeted the image with the caption "What's missing in this photo?"

Cornyn then replied to the tweet saying, "Masks?"

Cornyn tweet
Cornyn's misleading tweet. Twitter screenshot

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), another member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, called out Cornyn's deceptive tweet.

"Hi John, this picture was taken well before the pandemic," Leahy tweeted. "Also, I look forward to you calling out President Trump for not wearing a mask next time."

As of the time this article had published, Cornyn had still not deleted the misleading tweet. But he did respond to a reporter telling him the photo was old by saying "thanks for clarifying."

Meanwhile, Cornyn has not commented on the behavior of his own GOP colleagues on the Senate Judiciary Committee, including Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), who has been attending the Barrett confirmation hearing in person and without a mask — even though he tested positive for the coronavirus less than two weeks ago.

Cornyn, for his part, does not support mask mandates.

"We don't need the government to fill the void that we should fill ourselves by acting responsibly at the local level to keep each other safe and to get this economy growing again," Cornyn said at a debate with his Democratic opponent last week.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.