Sen. Ted Cruz’s office says it has filed a report with Twitter after his verified account “liked” a video featuring pornographic content late Monday, and Cruz told reporters that a staff aide was responsible for mistakenly causing the video to appear on his page.
Twitter users noticed the tweet, which was posted by an account called @SexuallPosts, shortly before midnight Monday, according to the New York Post. It remained on the Texas senator’s page for more than hour before being removed Tuesday around 1:20 a.m., according to The Verge.
In response, Cruz’s senior communications adviser Catherine Frazier tweeted that “the offensive tweet posted on @tedcruz account earlier has been removed by staff and reported to Twitter,” implying that the “like” was the result of hackers and not someone inside Cruz’s office.
Cruz told the media that “it was a staffing issue and it was inadvertent. It was a mistake.” He did not say whether the staffer who had “liked” the tweet would be fired or have his or her access to his Twitter page removed, per the Associated Press.
The tweet itself has not been taken down from its original page, and the account that posted it changed its bio to read “Follow for the Same Porn @TedCruz Watches,” according to Gizmodo.
Cruz, who finished second in the Republican presidential primaries in 2016, is known for his outspoken conservative positions on social issues. As solicitor general for Texas in 2007, he argued in favor of the state’s ban on the sale of sex toys, saying that individuals do not have the legal right to use them, even in their own homes, according to the Associated Press.
On Tuesday morning, Cruz began trending on Twitter.
This is not the first time Cruz’s office has been involved in controversy related to pornography: During his 2016 campaign, one of his advertisements featured an actress who had appeared in pornographic films. The ad was pulled and the campaign said they “obviously would not have let her appear in the ad” had they known about her previous roles.