Turmoil threatens the Georgia airline, Delta Air, as its careful handling of the gun debate seems to anger some Republican party members. After cutting member discounts for flights to the Dallas annual NRA meeting, Georgia’s Lieutenant Governor tweeted a direct threat to the airline.
This latest is just one in a series of public and bold statements of support for the NRA by GOP lawmakers. However consistent with their longstanding position, it does seem Republicans are fixated on reaffirming their support for the National Rifle Association immediately after every mass shooting.
How Delta got into the gun debate while trying to stay neutral
In the aftermath of the recent Florida mass shooting, the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School spoke out against gun violence. The moving speeches of children struck at the heart of the gun debate. Their arguments were in favor of more sensible gun legislation. Firstly, they argued for a fewer dangerous, deadly weapons available. Secondly, to make it more difficult for people with preexisting mental health conditions to purchase guns.
In an effort to ride the political wave out of the storm, Delta Air made the announcement on Saturday via Twitter (@Delta). They said that they would end their contract with the NRA (which provided discount rates for members). Secondly, Delta requested that the NRA remove all traces of Delta from their official website.
It seems this angered Georgia Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle who took to Twitter to pressure the airline:
I will kill any tax legislation that benefits @Delta unless the company changes its position and fully reinstates its relationship with @NRA. Corporations cannot attack conservatives and expect us not to fight back.
— Casey Cagle (@CaseyCagle) February 26, 2018
Sending a Message?
Delta may be trying to weather the storm, but remaining neutral seems is the only option off the table. Trying for a bit of damage control, Delta lobbyist David Werner tweeted:
@Delta announcement this morning was not a political statement-it was the opposite. @Delta merely confirmed its neutral status on a politically and emotionally charged issue by removing its name from the debate.
— David Werner (@davidrosswerner) February 24, 2018
However, as one LA Times reporter points out:
Delta tried to find a middle ground on gun control — only to discover there wasn’t one.
Delta’s efforts were futile as in this debate you’re either for or against gun laws. Companies face growing pressure to take sides in major political battles. Interesting it is to notice how these changes affect their businesses as the battle of the lobbyists continues. If it goes awry, no amount of good PR for Delta could save them from laws specifically tailored against them.
Delta joins the United Airlines, Hertz, Metlife, Symantec, and many others in severing ties with the National Rifle Association.
Image from Flickr.