Ted Cruz has just shared his second nonsense conspiracy theory on Twitter in as many weeks. The Texas senator’s latest fixation for outrage is the US-Mexico border, where Republicans continue to argue that the Biden administration is not doing enough to stop illegal border crossings.
Many of those crossings involve persons applying for asylum, which must be done on US soil.
Mr Cruz retweeted an image depicting a section of border fencing with several metal gateways opened, presumably allowing physical passage by any persons in the vicinity. The gates in question are floodgates, built as part of the border fencing under the Trump administration and opened seasonally to allow water to flow through during floods. The Washington Post first reported their existence in 2020.
The Texas Republican, however, fell for a right-wing troll account’s claim that the White House had ordered them “welded” open to allow permanent passage of migrants — an obviously false explanation which nevertheless appeared to have fooled a sitting US senator.
“This…is…nuts”, Mr Cruz opined about the untrue statement shared by the account, “End Wokeness”.
A community note published under the senator’s tweet contained the correct explanation for the image, as well as a link to the Post’s original coverage of the gates back in January of 2020.
It’s not the first time Mr Cruz, who ran for president in 2016 before endorsing Donald Trump after the latter insulted his wife and insinuated that his father was involved in the JFK assassination, has fallen for fake news on social media. In fact, it’s not even the most egregious example in recent memory.
The senator just last week reposted an image appearing to depict the murky silhouette of a shark in floodwaters on a highway in California, posted on Twitter amid the first tropical storm to make landfall in the state in decades. That image is one in a long line of fakes which routinely pop up on social media during major storms; California actually experienced moderate flooding during the landfall of Hurricane Hilary but there was no evidence of major sea predators stalking the state’s roads.
He also was forced to delete a tweet in late 2022 after falling for a fake outrage-bait screenshot of a supposed article in The Atlantic about white supremacy that didn’t actually exist.