Jen Psaki Mocks Ted Cruz Over His Claims Vaccine Mandate Led to Southwest Airlines Delay

White House press secretary Jen Psaki appeared to mock Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) on Tuesdayover his claims vaccine requirements led to Southwest Airlines' staff shortages.

Asked by Fox News reporter Jacqui Heinrich: "What's the White House response to those who say vaccine mandates have reduced the workforce and contributed to this problem?"

Psaki replied: "Well, I know world-renowned business, travel and health expert Sen. Ted Cruz has made that point.

"But I wouldn't say that is widely acknowledged or echoed by business leaders who have implemented these mandates. By health experts who have conveyed the way to get out of the pandemic.

She then added: "It is to ensure we're doing exactly the steps the president has announced and we're working to implement. It doesn't mean this isn't hard and challenging. Of course, it is, we're in the middle of a global pandemic.

"But, ultimately the job of the President of the United States is to lead."

Wow. Jen Psaki just owned Ted Cruz.

— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 12, 2021

A clip of the exchange was shared on Twitter by journalist Aaron Rupar and has since been viewed more than 385,700 times and has been liked on more than 11,600 occasions.

Sen. Cruz later hit back in two tweets, in which he said: "So now Biden WH [White House] is launching snarky insults from the WH press room."

Cruz also said he had spoken with a "very credible & senior source in aviation," who told him there had been a "sick out" of air traffic controllers over vaccine mandates in Jacksonville a few days ago.

He later added: "As a result, out of 33 air traffic controllers only three showed up to work.

"That resulted in cascading flight cancellations. True or false, Jen? Or do you just do petty insults and ignore actual facts?"

President Biden's mandate requires organizations with 100 employees or more has drawn heavy criticism from many Republicans, including Cruz.

In a tweet on Sunday, Cruz said: "Joe Biden's illegal vaccine mandate at work. Suddenly, we're short on pilots and air traffic controllers."

But, according to AP News, the airline, its pilots and the Federal Aviation Administration denied the claims circulating online of a so-called "mass sickout" over the mandate.

Southwest spokesperson Chris Mainz said: "The weekend challenges were not a result of Southwest employee demonstrations."

Newsweek has contacted Sen. Cruz and the White House for comment.

There has been some pushback to President Biden's vaccine mandate, with the hashtag #DoNotComply trending high on Twitter on Monday.

Meanwhile, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order on Monday aimed to prevent enforcement of the vaccine mandate.

His order came as Texas led the nation in average daily deaths from COVID-19, amid vaccine hesitancy from a section of the U.S. population.

Jen Psaki mocked Senator Ted Cruz
Jen Psaki mocked Senator Ted Cruz over his comments on vaccine mandates. Getty