U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz is getting a lot of unwanted attention on social media Tuesday morning after the Texas Republican's account "liked" a tweet featuring a pornographic video tweeted by Pornhub.
It isn't clear who with access to Cruz's Twitter account tapped the like button on the tweet — Cruz didn't say when asked about it Tuesday — but it was un-done overnight, a representative of his noted.
"The offensive tweet posted on @tedcruz account earlier has been removed by staff and reported to Twitter," Catherine Frazier, Cruz's communications director, tweeted shortly after 1 a.m. Tuesday.
By then, Cruz was trending worldwide.
Cruz addressed the notoriety Tuesday, even joking about it before answering questions from reporters on Capitol Hill: "This is not how I envisioned waking up this morning."
He said he could have used this kind of attention during the Indiana primary, when he was running for president.
"There are a number of people on the team that have access to the account and it appears that someone inadvertently hit the like button. And when we discovered the post, which I was I guess an hour or two later, we pulled it down," Cruz said.
Asked if he was the person who liked the tweet, Cruz said, "It was a staffing issue."
He said the action wasn't deliberate and reiterated that when asked if the person responsible would be disciplined.
"We're dealing with it internally, but it was a mistake. It was not malicious conduct," Cruz said.
The vice president of Pornhub released a statement on Tuesday, which read, in part:
"Following Ted's scandalous late night activity on Twitter last night, thanks to Reality Kings, we are making the video Ted liked available to the masses."
It's not the first time Cruz has discussed porn-watching publicly.
In a 2015 book, he recalled watching "explicit, hard-core pornography" with Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist, whom he was clerking for at the time, and Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, The Washington Post reported. The two were being shown how easy it can be to find porn online. Cruz recalled O'Connor muttering, "Oh, my," as they viewed the video.
Some on social media Tuesday pointed to the time when Cruz, while serving as solicitor general of Texas from 2003 to 2008, helmed the office as it defended a state ban on sex toys. The state eventually dropped the case.