A handful of travel leaders were quick to condemn the violence and terror that we all witnessed among Donald Trump's supporters on Wednesday in Washington. The top execs' bottom line: It's not who we are.
The deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol building and the halls of Congress on Wednesday quickly elicited strongly worded statements from across the travel industry. Here’s what CEOs had to say Thursday about the melee in D.C.
“Peaceful protest has been a powerful force for change throughout U.S. history. But it must never cross the line into violence and insurrection.” — Ed Bastian, Delta Air Lines CEO
“I recognize that we have associates who have very different views on the results of this election and the direction of the United States. We serve guests who also have a wide range of opinions and perspectives. In the U.S., we can use our voice and our vote to share our views. But what we can’t do is trample the Constitution; we can’t use violence and terror to force an agenda. It’s not who we are – and I would offer, it’s not what the vast majority of Americans want.” — Arne Sorenson, Marriott CEO
“We cannot look at yesterday without acknowledging for our Black colleagues, the unrest and treatment of the rioters was especially painful to watch. This is another example of the progress that still needs to be made in the pursuit of equality and justice for all Americans. We recognize the disparity in how other protestors have been treated, and our commitment to making meaningful change within our company and our communities is reinforced and strengthened.” — Doug Parker, American Airlines CEO, and Rober Isom, American Airlines President
“We watched yesterday with a mixture of anger and sadness as a large group of protestors and rioters marched on the U.S. Capitol, occupied federal buildings and put on a terrible display of vandalism and violence. For those of us who call the U.S. home, we can all agree that these actions were not a reflection of who we are as Americans.
But there was also another series of events that took place overnight that gives us hope: both houses of Congress re-assembled after the riots, certified — on a bipartisan basis — the results of our Electoral College and formalized the election of Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Kamala D. Harris as our next President and Vice President of the United States. Free and fair elections are a cornerstone of our democracy and by coming together and finishing their work, Congress sent an important message to our country and the rest of the world.” — Scott Kirby, United Airlines CEO, and Bret Hart, United Airlines President
“We are profoundly heartbroken by the disturbing actions at the U.S. Capitol that are being viewed around the world. The behavior we are witnessing has no place in any peaceful democracy, much less in the country that is supposed to be the foremost example of democratic principles.” — Roger Dow, U.S. Travel Association CEO
“With all this drama, I am not discouraged. Like you, I love our country. Today, the sun rose. We are a strong democracy with bedrock institutions. We live in a great country that is built upon the rule of law and individual rights and freedoms. Please join me in doubling down on our commitment to civil discourse and civility. We will never bridge the chasm of our differences unless we are willing to be respectful, and listen, and truly see other points of view. Our country needs more kindness and civility. Let your strong Southwest Hearts shine.” — Gary Kelly, Southwest Airlines CEO
“Boeing proudly serves a vital role with our U.S. customer in defending democracy here, and around the world. The vote of the people and the peaceful transition of government are core to our democracy. Our company has a long history of working with elected officials over many years. In the spirit of bipartisanship, we encourage them to work with President-elect Biden to unify our nation.” — Dave Calhoun, Boeing CEO
“The violence at the United States Capitol is an attack on the values we hold dear as Americans and has no place in our country. This is not who we are. We urge an immediate end to the violence and the restoration of peace.” — Chip Rogers, American Hotel and Lodging Association CEO
UPDATED: This story was updated to include comments from Doug Parker and Robert Isom of American Airlines, and Gary Kelly, Southwest CEO.
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Photo credit: The capitol building in Washington D.C., the site of Wednesday's insurrection by Trump supporters. Daniel Huizinga / Flickr