Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz was soundly mocked for reigniting his bizarre feud with Sesame Street after Elmo, everyone's favorite furry red monster, announced that he'd gotten vaccinated against COVID-19.
In a video that was posted to social media by Sesame Street and made in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Ad Council, and the COVID Collaborative's COVID-19 Vaccine Education Initiative, Elmo showed children a bandage on his arm, noting that there had been "a little pinch" when he got his vaccine, but that it had been fine.
Elmo's father Louie then said that he had "a lot of questions about Elmo getting the COVID vaccine," adding:
"Was it safe? Was it the right decision? I talked to our pediatrician so I could make the right choice."
"I learned that Elmo getting vaccinated is the best way to keep himself, our friends, neighbors and everyone else healthy and enjoying the things they love."
You can watch the segment in the video below.
\u201cIt's okay to have questions about COVID-19 vaccines for children! Elmo's dad Louie talked to their pediatrician, and learned that Elmo getting vaccinated is the best way to keep him and his whole neighborhood safe and healthy! #CaringForEachOther\u201d— Sesame Street (@Sesame Street) 1656423000
But the video angered Cruz, who took to social media to denounce it, accusing Sesame Street of using Elmo to "aggressively advocate for vaccinating children UNDER 5."
Cruz went on to claim that there is "ZERO scientific evidence" to support vaccinating children under five years of age and directed his followers to his campaign website to learn more.
\u201cThanks, @sesamestreet for saying parents are allowed to have questions!\n\nYou then have @elmo aggressively advocate for vaccinating children UNDER 5. \n\nBut you cite ZERO scientific evidence for this. Learn more:\n\nhttps://t.co/Ss20TmFTSB\u201d— Ted Cruz (@Ted Cruz) 1656434353
Cruz is wrong, however.
Earlier this month, the CDC signed off on vaccines for children under five after a long period of testing and research.
On June 18, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the CDC Director, recommended that all children 6 months through 5 years of age should receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
In its official press release, the CDC noted that the announcement officially "expands eligibility for vaccination to nearly 20 million additional children and means that all Americans ages 6 months and older are now eligible for vaccination," adding:
"Parents and caregivers can now get their children 6 months through 5 years of age vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines to better protect them from COVID-19. All children, including children who have already had COVID-19, should get vaccinated."
"COVID-19 vaccines have undergone—and will continue to undergo—the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history."
"Parents and caregivers can play an active role in monitoring the safety of these vaccines by signing their children up for v-safe – personalized and confidential health check-ins via text messages and web surveys where they can easily share with CDC how a child feels after getting a COVID-19 vaccine."
Cruz was harshly criticized.
\u201cZERO Scientific Evidence? REALLY Cancun Cruz? IT'S A MUPPET - and he's CORRECT.\n\nYou're a sitting Senator - and you're 100 WRONG.\n\nTHE MUPPET WINS - YOU, as usual, LOSE!\n\nNow go pick on someone with your equally low IQ - any GOP Senator will suffice.\u201d— \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6\ud83c\udfcd\ufe0fBlue ChikaLina \ud83c\udf3b (@\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6\ud83c\udfcd\ufe0fBlue ChikaLina \ud83c\udf3b) 1656533531
\u201cNow we know what Rafael watches when he\u2019s not attending Senate floor sessions.\u201d— JRod49 (@JRod49) 1656527076
\u201cElmo's supposed to be the Muppet, and yet here's Ted Cruz....\u201d— The Superhoo (@The Superhoo) 1656519703
\u201cTed Cruz has more heat for a puppet than he does for the man who said his wife looked like a dog.\u201d— MichaelBePetty (@MichaelBePetty) 1656521525
\u201cWhat I find funny is that Ted Cruz is a regular watcher of Sesame Street. It clearly shows his maturity level.\u201d— Maddie \ud83c\udf0a (@Maddie \ud83c\udf0a) 1656524521
\u201cThe right wings war on Sesame Street is even more insidious when you realize that conservatives just hate public access television. They want everything privatized so information is dictated by their feelings instead of facts.\nDonate to PBS here: https://t.co/Pb14pRG5d9\u201d— Briana Rose Lee \ud83c\udf39\u262e (@Briana Rose Lee \ud83c\udf39\u262e) 1656524631
\u201cReally @tedcruz ? Fighting with #Muppets again? Grow up and get a grip.\nAnd if people people want to learn some actual science, they need to check the CDC website, not your political hack site.\nhttps://t.co/XHJmemRXmH\u201d— Tammye Nash (@Tammye Nash) 1656525607
\u201cCan we expel Ted Cruz from the Senate already!!!\u201d— Christian RuizDiaz \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6 (@Christian RuizDiaz \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6) 1656526760
\u201cBwa ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Thanks for the laugh Ted Cruz. I really needed it today.\u201d— Rachel (@Rachel) 1656526798
Cruz previously made headlines for attacking Sesame Street last year after Big Bird announced on Twitter that he'd been vaccinated.
In a tweet, Big Bird said that while his "wing is feeling a little sore," he knows the vaccine will give his "body an extra protective boost that keeps me and others healthy."
Big Bird's announcement drew Cruz's ire and he later took to social media to criticize the announcement, which he claimed was evidence of "Government propaganda... for your 5 year old."