Actress Alyssa Milano of “Who’s the Boss?” and “Melrose Place” tweeted an electronic group hug Tuesday in which she encouraged everyone to “get in.”
Well, maybe not everyone.
After the post had collected thousands of “likes” and hundreds of retweets, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) decided to “get in” on the fun. He retweeted Milano, adding his own caption: “We all need a hug!” He also included a winking face emoji, which according to Urban Dictionary, “is used as a way to convey the playful sentiment in a medium, such as text, where emotions can’t otherwise be displayed. Depending on the context, it can be flirtatious, but usually denotes joking.”
Why the wonky Cruz, or perhaps a Cruz staffer, would even be following Alyssa Milano is uncertain. Milano is a passionate Democrat who has long spoken out against the Republican Party. Most recently, she volunteered to go door-to-door in suburban Atlanta to help campaign for Jon Ossoff, the unsuccessful candidate for Congress in Georgia’s 6th District. She even drove voters to the polls, People Magazine reported. Right-wing website Breitbart suggested her “group hug” tweet was in reference to Ossoff losing the election.
Milano quickly tweeted to him, “Not you, @tedcruz. You’re not invited.” She then mirrored his tweet by adding a winky face emoji of her own.
Many others followed suit, similarly insulting the senator.
“Ted, reaching creep factor 1000 with the winky emoji,” tweeted one user.
“Thanks for ruining hugs,” tweeted another.
Other tweets read, “Nobody touch Ted! It’s a trap!” and “Sorry, @tedcruz, but you’re actually one of the reasons we need a hug. Own it.”
Milano herself added one more message.
Cruz, it should be noted, is well trafficked in the art of using the winky face, be it emoji or emoticon. Just look at this tweet mocking Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.).