After a video emerged of a passenger owning Sen. Mitt Romney in an awkward airport confrontation, Delta pushed back, punishing the passenger by putting her on the ‘no fly’ list.
Although the episode happened prior to a mass demonstration at the US Capitol on Jan. 6, the airline appeared to use the violent demonstration as an excuse for its draconian measures.
“We’re on high alert based on the events of the last couple of weeks up in Washington,” Delta CEO Ed Bastian told CNBC in an interview Thursday, according to Forbes.
Whether Romney played any role in pressuring the airline remains unclear.
In the video, posted on Jan. 5 to Twitter, Romney is seen uncomfortably mumbling through the exchange while awaiting his flight back to Washington, DC.
A woman calls him to task over his refusal to support President Donald Trump’s effort to challenge vote fraud in the 2020 election.
“Why aren’t you supporting President Trump?” the woman asked, according to Denver’s ABC 7.
Romney responded that he does agree with “many of the things he is for.”
“Are you going to support him in the fraudulent votes?” she asked.
After Romney said he wouldn’t, she continued, “You work for us, am I wrong?”
“I work for the people of Utah,” he replied.
Romney’s hounding continued on the flight itself, with passengers shouting “Traitor! Traitor! Traitor!”
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, received similar treatment, despite having frequently supported the president, after saying he would not back Trump over the fraud challenge.
A “handful” of Graham’s hecklers may also have been placed on the airline’s “no fly” list, according to The Hill.
Bastian initially said as much to Reuters, although a company spokesperson later claimed he misspoke.
The Federal Aviation Administration stood behind the senators, saying it would also support crackdowns on such confrontations.
“We’ve seen a disturbing increase in these incidents…. We’ll take the strongest possible enforcement action against any passenger who engages in it,” said FAA administrator Steve Dickson.
However, the new level of indignation seems to be another case of selective enforcement against Trump supporters.
Several stories emerged of Trump supporters being abused that seemed to arouse much less concern, including one in which a captain threatened to kick passengers off for cheering “USA.”