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Senator Ted Cruz boasted of having "ridiculous fun" in TV poker game - as Texans demanded gun reform following the horrific mass shooting at Robb Elementary School.
On Wednesday (1 June), the Texan Republican took to his Twitter to share a link to share the fun time he had in the charity poker game during an episode of Poker After Dark.
The link featured Cruz alongside professional poker player Phil Hellmuth, Outkick founder Clay Travis, and YouTuber MrBeast.
Some hours later, Cruz shared a clip of him playing a round with Hellmuth.
"Head-to-head vs. an iconic poker player like @phil_hellmuth was ridiculous fun!" he captioned the clip.
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\u201cHead-to-head vs. an iconic poker player like @phil_hellmuth was ridiculous fun!\u201d — Ted Cruz (@Ted Cruz)
In a follow-up tweet, Cruz noted that the poker game was pre-recorded "several months ago" and "they just aired the first part."
Despite this, people on Twitter still condemned Cruz, who has also faced backlash for his response to the Robb Elementary School shooting and his appearance at an NRA event in Houston some days later,and for sharing the episode soon after the first child funerals for the victims were occurring.
On Tuesday, Amerie Jo Garza and Maite Rodriguez, both aged 10, were buried in ceremonies in Texas.
And on Wednesday, Robb Elementary School teacher Irma Garcia - who was also killed in the shooting at Uvalde, was buried alongside her husband Joe - who passed away two days later from a heart attack.
Cruz also shared the poker footage on the same evening a gunman killed four people in a mass shooting at a medical building in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which naturally prompted debate about the need for gun control in the US.
"And there's absolutely no reason for a Texas senator not to be having "ridiculous fun" right now. None whatsoever," wrote MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan.
Former Texas congressional candidate Russell Foster added, in part: "Multiple mass shootings today & Ted Cruz is too busy talking about poker games instead of the violence in America."
\u201cAnd there's absolutely no reason for a Texas senator not to be having "ridiculous fun" right now. None whatsoever.\u201d — Mehdi Hasan (@Mehdi Hasan)
IfNotNow co-founder Max Berger who referenced how Cruz "grappled" with issues that Texas faced wrote': "As Texans grappled with the power outage, Ted Cruz went to Cancun.
"As Texans grappled with a mass shooting at a school, Ted Cruz played poker."
Jemele Hill, a contributing writer to The Atlantic simply added: "I gotta believe Texas wants better than this."
\u201cI gotta believe Texas wants better than this.\u201d — Jemele Hill (@Jemele Hill)
Elsewhere, the politician also faced criticism for proposing that "having one door that goes in and out" of the elementary school could have helped prevent the mass shooting in Uvalde, rather than stricter gun laws.
Indy100 contacted Cruz for comment.