8 senators have actually been spotted wearing Apple Watches to President Trump’s impeachment trial, apparently breaking the chamber’s restriction on electronic devices during the proceedings. The apparent infractions were identified by Roll Call, which saw Apple Watches on the wrists of 6 Republican senators and two Democratic senators, as well as an aide to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Under rules published last week, senators are prohibited from bringing any electronics into the chamber. All electronic devices ought to be left in the Cloakroom in the storage provided,” the rules read.
No particular factor was given for the ban– whether it’s a concern about senators tape-recording personal conversations, triggering a commotion on social media, or simply being sidetracked during an essential case. Apple Watches consist of messaging and recording features, and newer models can include LTE to keep users linked even when there’s no Wi-Fi. They’re a lot more difficult to tweet from and read e-mails on than a smartphone, though.
Senator Ted Cruz– or at least, his social media supervisor– mocked the ban, tweeting a picture of an iPhone that says “come and take it” after he was accused of tweeting during the procedures. Cruz hasn’t been identified with an iPhone on the Senate flooring, and a Cruz representative later confirmed to The Brink that he didn’t bring his phone onto the Senate floor.
Taking photos, videos, or audio recordings has been banned in the House of Representatives since 2017, with violators paying up to a $2,500 fine beginning on their 2nd offense. The Senate’s restriction is wider than that, restricting electronic devices even when they’re not in use. It does not appear to have actually implemented a fine like in the Home, so it might be trickier to impose– specifically for something as low profile as a smartwatch.
Update, 8: 35 PM ET: Added confirmation from a representative for Sen. Cruz that he did not bring his phone onto the floor.