DALLAS (AP) — Republican Sen. Ted Cruz on Friday got his hair cut at a Dallas salon that became a rallying cry for conservative protests against coronavirus lockdown orders in Texas after the owner refused to shut down and ultimately went to jail.
Cruz, who spent two weeks in self-isolation in March after saying he came into contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19, said he flew up from Houston to get his first haircut in three months at Salon à la Mode. He did so one day after its owner, Shelley Luther, walked out of jail after a court ordered her released.
Luther spent less than 48 hours behind bars after a Dallas judge sentenced her to a week in jail for defying Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s emergency orders that did not allow hair salons to reopen yet. Abbott had said violators of his coronavirus orders could face up to 180 days in jail, but he rushed to Luther’s defense Thursday and stripped his order of jail as a possible punishment for flouting the virus restrictions.
Cruz called Luther’s punishment “ridiculous” but sidestepped questions about what might have been an appropriate penalty for her for violating an order, The Dallas Morning News reported. The judge only sent her to jail after she refused to apologize for disobeying the order and said she would continue to do so.
Friday was the first day barbershops and hair salons could reopen in Texas.
President Donald Trump also came to Luther’s defense Friday on “Fox & Friends” and called her “an incredible representative for a large group of people that want to do the same thing.”
Abbott said that people who had “spent their life building up a business” should not be put behind bars. Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo tweeted Friday that Abbott’s actions were “hypocritical” for criticizing local officials who enforced the governor’s own order.