Fact Check: Did Ted Cruz Swallow a Fly Live on Fox News?

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has been mocked on Twitter after a video resurfaced that appeared to show him swallowing an insect during an appearance on Fox News.

The hashtag #ToadCruz was trending on the social media site early on Thursday—a play on the lawmaker's name alluding to toads, which eat flies.

The Claim

Twitter users on Thursday morning shared what appeared to be a brief video clip of Cruz on Fox News.

In a six-second video without sound, which was also shared as a GIF, an insect of some kind can be seen crawling along Cruz's face and under his mouth.

In this version of the clip, Cruz appears to swallow it and then coughs and drinks water from a bottle.

Many on the social media site took the video and GIF at face value. They identified the insect as a fly and began mocking the senator. The hashtag #ToadCruz was trending number one in the U.S. for a period of time, just ahead of #FriendsReunion, according to Trends24.

Some used the video as a way to criticize Cruz's politics as well as joking about flies and toads.

Oh. My. God. He ate a fly! pic.twitter.com/SFBfkWzxA8

— John Aravosis 🇺🇸🇬🇷🏳️‍🌈 (@aravosis) May 27, 2021

The Facts

The clip is taken from an interview Cruz gave to Fox News' Sean Hannity on June 28, 2019. A full video of this interview, which is 8 minutes, 26 seconds, was posted to the senator's YouTube account.

Within the first few seconds of the interview, Hannity asks Cruz about criticisms of then-President Donald Trump.

Cruz begins to answer but appears to have something in his throat, coughs and takes a sip of water from a plastic bottle.

No insect of any kind can be seen on Cruz's face, nor does he swallow one.

"Take a sip of water," Hannity says. "By the way, that's your Marco Rubio moment."

Hannity was referring to a 2013 incident on which Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) was made fun of for drinking from a bottle of water while giving the official Republican response to then-President Barack Obama's State of the Union address.

A six-second clip of Cruz "eating" an insect was shared to Reddit in 2020 and posted in the r/PoliticalHumor subreddit.

At the time, the user who uploaded it claimed Cruz had eaten a spider, not a fly. That brief video appears to have been altered to include the bug on Cruz's face.

The Ruling

False.

Senator Ted Cruz briefly had a catch in his throat during a Fox News interview in 2019. Footage of the moment was later altered to include a non-descript insect of some kind and shared on Reddit.

It reemerged on Twitter on Thursday with users claiming Cruz had eaten a fly—but providing no context for the clip and apparently unaware it had been altered.

Ted Cruz Speaks about the Southern Border
Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) gestures as he speaks during a news conference on the U.S. southern border and President Joe Biden’s immigration policies, in the Hart Senate Office Building on May 12, 2021, in Washington, D.C. Cruz did not swallow a fly on Fox News despite a video circulating on Twitter. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images