Airline passengers who chanted “traitor” at Utah Sen. Mitt Romney last week during a flight from Salt Lake City to Washington, D.C., won’t be able to do that anymore — at least not on Delta Air Lines.
It put them on its no-fly list.
Delta spokesman Anthony Black said six people involved have been banned permanently from the airline because of their behavior toward the senator — and they otherwise would have been banned through the end of the pandemic for not wearing masks.
He added that Delta was easily able to review what happened because of videos some of the protesters (and others) posted online.
Black made the comments after Reuters first reported that Delta CEO Ed Bastian said the airline banned passengers involved in incidents that targeted Romney and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. Black said Bastian was talking about events like what happened to the two senators, but said Graham was not on a Delta flight so it did not take action against anyone involved in that incident.
On Friday, Bastian sent a memo to Delta employees that said, “Those who refuse to display basic civility to our people or their fellow travelers are not welcome on Delta. Their actions will not be tolerated, and they will not have the privilege of flying our airline ever again.”
A video about the taunting of Romney went viral last week, but the Twitter account used to post it initially has since been suspended. President Donald Trump referred to the video to heckle Romney during his now-infamous speech to protesters before the U.S. Capitol was stormed, which led this week to the president’s second impeachment.
Trump told protesters at the rally about Romney, “I wonder if he enjoyed his flight in last night,” bringing laughs and cheers.
A video of the flight showed several passengers on the airplane chanting, “traitor, traitor, traitor” for 20 seconds on the plane.
One yelled, “Resign, Mitt.”
Another said, “Mitt Romney, you don’t listen to your constituents.”
One passenger spoke up in the senator’s defense. “I’m one of your constituents, and I think you’re doing wonderful.”
A heckler retorted, “You may be like one in a million.”
Harassment began before the flight. Other videos showed Romney being approached by a woman without a mask wanting to ask why he isn’t supporting Trump.
When he asked her to put on her mask, She said, “Don’t tell me what to do.” But she said she put on her mask because she wanted to ask Romney questions.
She then asked if he supports Trump, and he said, “I do agree with many of the things he does,” but said he doesn’t support the challenge to electoral votes aiming to keep Trump in office.
Romney eventually walked away as the woman said, “You’re a joke, absolute joke, disgusting shame.”
Similarly, Graham was accosted last week at Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C., by protesters who also also chanted “traitor” after he had denounced pressure to overturn the victory of President-elect Joe Biden. Flanked by men in police vests, Graham headed for an exit as a man said, “You don’t represent us anymore,” and others called him a traitor or “a garbage human being.”
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, last week denounced such harassment in a tweet.
“No matter our political differences let’s all treat each other with respect and decency,” he tweeted. “Harassing your political opponents on a plane is not acceptable. Harassing your political opponents at their home is not acceptable. We as a country need to be better than this.”