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Texas GOP candidate for governor admits to 'flicking' mask off man in Dallas airport confrontation

"I pulled down his mask and said see, nothing happened," Allen West said in a tweet.
Allen West
Posted at 10:06 AM, Nov 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-05 11:06:47-04

(NBC News) - Texas Republican gubernatorial hopeful Allen West admitted to not wearing a mask at the airport before physically confronting another traveler.

The conservative firebrand, who was hospitalized last month with Covid-19, said the incident happened Wednesday at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

"This morning at the airport a man starts yelling at me and tells me to put my mask on and calls me an idiot," West wrote on Twitter. "I walked over to him and asked if he called me an idiot, he continued to yell at me. I pulled down his mask and said see, nothing happened."

In a separate statement from West's campaign, the candidate said he was confronted "by a left-wing partisan who cursed and insulted him for not wearing a mask" before responding "by flicking the individual’s mask."

The former Florida congressman said he's under no obligation to wear a mask at the airport — despite clear federal guidelines stating exactly that.

"He put up his fists and I walked away. I did call him a stupid man," West tweeted. "I have spoken to DFW PD. There’s no mask law, nothing has ever passed in the US House and Senate making wearing a mask law."

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) requires travelers to wear masks on "all transportation networks throughout the United States, including at airports, onboard commercial aircraft, on over-the-road buses, and on commuter bus and rail systems" through Jan. 18, 2022.

DFW Airport has said it follows that TSA mandate and will throw out any traveler who doesn't comply.

A rep for the airport could not be immediately reached for comment on Friday.

Before moving to Texas, West served one term in Congress representing a district in southeastern Florida.

He's now challenging Gov. Greg Abbott for next year's GOP nomination.

"Left-wing activists have brazenly badgered and assaulted conservatives and perceived heretics of the COVID orthodoxy and liberal dogma since the beginning of the Trump administration and onward," according to West's campaign. "West will not cave to bullying by progressive political punks."