News & Politics

Ted Cruz Grew a Content Factory on His Face

Ted Cruz and his beard attend a mock swearing in ceremony in the Old Senate Chamber on January 3. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

What are your thoughts on Ted Cruz’s beard? I know you have some. Maybe you’re uncomfortable with how much better-looking he is with it. Or you’re thinking about its anthropological dimensions: Where do beards fit into politicians’ current grooming mores? Like most beards, it was pretty bad when it started, but now it’s pretty decent. Oh crap, it’s getting better. What if other Washington types grew beards? Dang, Beto O’Rourke gave his Mach 3 a couple days off, too, but his scruff looks pretty bad compared with Cruz’s ever-improving flavor saver.

Cruz has a history of belatedly acknowledging the unflattering things people say about him, like the time he took back the whole Ted Cruz-is-the-Zodiac-Killer thing. That joke did so much for him he repeated it a year later, then beat back a challenge from O’Rourke, then returned to DC sporting his fuzz. On Wednesday he finally tweeted about his beard:

A bit much indeed. But it’s on-brand for Cruz, who until now has held the internet’s deep feelings of weirdness around his facial hair at arm’s length.

Ted Cruz’s beard is the Fiji Water Woman of 2019 politics, a lengthening collection of protein filaments that just keeps photobombing the news. Without it, we’d have to think about policy or the shutdown or something. So thank you, Ted Cruz. Your beard is a gift to those of us who produce content for the internet for a living. I wish you many months of growing it, shaving it, and dithering over whether to replace your Twitter avi with a bearded pic. (Unsolicited advice: Do it. We might get another post out of that.)

Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute,, and Washington City Paper. His book A Bigger Field Awaits Us: The Scottish Soccer Team That Fought the Great War was published in 2018. He lives in Del Ray.