United Airlines CEO Confronted, Says Political Decision Wasn't Political

In the early days after Parkland, anti-gun activists started on a campaign to push companies to sever ties with the NRA. One of first and largest to do so was United Airlines. It was one of several companies that jumped ship and tried to distance themselves from the nation’s oldest civil rights organization.

At the same time, they ignited a firestorm as gun rights advocates vowed to never fly United again. It was a potentially costly move.

When the company held its annual meeting, however, the National Center for Public Policy Research’s Free Enterprise Project decided it would be a good time to confront CEO Oscar Munoz about the decision.

In an emailed statement, FEP director Justin Danhof said, “When I asked why United broke a business relationship with the NRA, Munoz dismissively answered me by suggesting I was making political commentary and that the company’s decision to essentially denounce the NRA wasn’t political.”

Yes. Read that again. Munoz said this obviously political position wasn’t really political.

Then why cut ties with the NRA? As Danhof says:

Munoz claimed the decision was made only because a United employee’s daughter was killed in the Parkland shooting. While that is indeed a tragedy, this explanation insults the intelligence of United’s investors and customers. United has 90,000 employees and has been around for nearly 100 years. In all that time, has no other United employee or a family member experienced gun violence? That’s hard to believe. It would seem the company, like so much of the mainstream media, regularly ignores shootings in areas such as the South Side of Chicago.

It’s a fair question.

The thing is, the NRA has absolutely nothing to do with either that shooting or any other known mass shooting out there. They have never advocated for violence except in self-defense. There are no known ties between any mass shooter and the National Rifle Association. It’s ridiculous to blame them for any killing, much less this particular one.

Plus, as Danhof notes, it’s hard to believe that with the number of employees United has over the period of time it has existed that no other employee has lost a child to gun violence. Had they done so before now, their argument might have held a little water. As it stands? Not at all.

Danhof called Munoz out on his hypocrisy, though, which is amusing. According to the press release, Danhof said:

I suppose you are ignoring the fact that the NRA had nothing to do with what happened in Parkland and that the perpetrator had zero affiliation with the NRA. But, hey, congratulations on your virtue signaling. What exactly did investors get out of that? The company is willfully giving up money. That’s an odd choice for an airline company in a hyper-competitive industry.

And virtue signaling it is. Nothing more, nothing less.

They sent up the signal that they think the right way. Screw the millions of Americans who support and defend the right to keep and bear arms. Forget them. They don’t matter to United.

What mattered was that they got to tell everyone how hard they care.

Too bad they didn’t care when other employees kids were most likely shot or victimized by any number of crimes. I mean, it might have actually meant something if they weren’t going to get massive headlines over it. Instead, they raised a middle finger to those employees in favor of this one instance.

Unfortunately, they haven’t really done anything.