Fact check: No evidence Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has a Twitter template for mass shootings

The claim: Image shows Texas Sen. Ted Cruz uses a Twitter template for mass shootings

In the wake of the May 24 shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, some online are highlighting Texas Sen. Ted Cruz's purported response to mass shootings.

An Instagram post shared May 27 includes an image that purports to show nine tweets from Cruz's personal account after recent mass shootings. The message of each tweet is identical, with only the location of the shooting in the text changing. 

"These mass shootings happen so much that Ted Cruz really got a template ready to tweet whenever they occur," reads the caption of the post. 

One such tweet reads:

"Heidi & I are fervently lifting up in prayer the children and families in the horrific shooting in Newtown. We are in close contact with local officials, but the precise details are still unfolding. Thank you to heroic law enforcement & first responders for acting so swiftly."

This same message is purportedly recycled for shootings that occurred in Orlando, Las Vegas, Parkland, Pittsburgh, Virginia Beach, El Paso, Rochester and Indianapolis. 

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The post generated over 600 likes in less than three days. Similar posts have spread widely on Facebook and Twitter.

But the purported tweets in the post are digitally manipulated to look like the Republican senator shared identical messages during each shooting. There is no evidence these tweets exist on any of Cruz’s Twitter accounts.

USA TODAY reached out to the social media users who shared the claim for comment.

Tweets in the post are fabricated

The tweets in the social media posts are digitally altered versions of a tweet Cruz shared on May 24 in response to the Uvalde shooting. The location of the shooting in the tweet and the date and time were changed on the others to make it appear as though Cruz has a programmed response to mass shootings.

The tweets shown in the social media posts do not exist on Cruz's personal or official accounts, in any archives or on a ProPublica database that tracks his deleted tweets. 

USA TODAY and other independent fact-checking organizations also found no evidence Cruz has used identical wording from his May 24 tweet in past responses to any mass shootings.

For example, in response to the deadly supermarket shooting in Buffalo, New York that left 10 dead, Cruz wrote in a May 16 tweet that the killer "must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law" and that he is "thankful there are heroes like security guard Aaron Salter, Jr., retired police officer, who fought back, and lost his life defending those around him."

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And after a shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh on Oct. 27, 2018, Cruz said in a tweet that he and his wife were "praying for the victims and their families, the entire Jewish community in Pittsburg, and our brave members of law enforcement."

Cruz has not tweeted from his personal or official account responding to mass shootings in Indianapolis, Rochester, Virginia Beach and Parkland, according to the Associated Press. 

Our rating: Altered

Based on our research, we rate ALTERED a photo that purports to show Cruz using a Twitter template for mass shootings. The tweets in the image are manipulated versions of a May 24 tweet Cruz shared in response to the Uvalde shooting. The manipulated tweets are not found on any of Cruz's Twitter accounts.

Our fact-check sources:

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