American Airlines announced early Thursday that it would no longer be serving alcohol on flights out of Washington D.C., after videos went viral of passengers being verbally abusive on flights into Washington for President Trump’s neo-fascist rally. The alcohol ban is one of many precautionary measures being taken by the airline after loyalists to Trump occupied the Capitol for hours on Wednesday in an attempted coup that left at least four people dead.
“At American, safety is our highest priority. We are working closely with local law enforcement and airport authority partners to ensure the safety of our customers and team members on the ground and in the air,” the airline said in a statement to Axios early Thursday.
During one of the disruptive American Airlines flights from Texas, Trump supporters projected video on the airplane cabin’s ceiling. One person in the video speaks about an anti-Trump passenger by saying, “These are the guys we came to fucking wipe out.”
Another video shows several passengers on a Delta flight from Utah shouting “traitor” and “resign” at Senator Mitt Romney, though it’s not clear alcohol was involved in fueling either incident.
The announcement from American Air comes after the largest flight attendant union in the U.S. announced late Wednesday that it wanted to ban violent Trump loyalists from flights out of Washington.
“The mob mentality behavior that took place on several flights to the D.C. area yesterday was unacceptable and threatened the safety and security of every single person onboard. It will not happen again,” Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA) International, said in a statement Wednesday night.
“Their violent and seditious actions at the Capitol today create further concern about their departure from the DC area. Acts against our democracy, our government and the freedom we claim as Americans must disqualify these individuals from the freedom of flight.”
Another union, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, encouraged its own members to “maintain situational awareness” in the short term as problems may arise from the political instability driven by Trump.
“Remain extra vigilant on flights departing from the Washington, D.C. area for the next few days, and involve your fellow crewmembers if you have safety concerns,” the union said, according to CNN.
President Trump made an unhinged speech Wednesday afternoon in front of the White House, twice promising his supporters he would lead a march on the Capitol, ostensibly to protest the certification by Congress of Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential election. Trump simply returned to the White House after his speech, but his anti-democratic followers took his orders literally and descended on the Capitol, breaking in and occupying the government building for hours.
At least one coup plotter with what appeared to be a firearm strapped to his hip could be seen holding zip-ties, a sign to many that some of the Trump loyalists planned to take members of Congress hostage. That was precisely the kidnapping plan of Michigan Governor Gretech Whitmer which was foiled before the election, according to the FBI. The idea was was to storm the Michigan legislature and start executing lawmakers live on TV, according to the FBI’s indictment of several Trump-supporting terrorists.
Two improvised explosive devices were found around the Capitol on Wednesday, but both were safely neutralized.
One person in Wednesday’s attempted coup, identified as Ashli Babbitt from San Diego, was shot by an unidentified person and died during the melee. Babbitt was reportedly a 14-year veteran of the Air Force and a supporter of the QAnon conspiracy theory that believes President Trump is saving the world from a cabal of cannibalistic pedophiles. Babbitt is already being hailed as a martyr in fascist circles on the internet. Another three people died in the chaos on Wednesday, though the circumstances around those deaths have not been disclosed.
Social media companies clamped down on President Trump’s accounts late Wednesday, and Twitter even suspended Trump for 12 hours, though the company stopped short of deleting his account permanently for inspiring an insurrection.
Congress finally certified Biden’s win at 3:33 a.m. ET this morning and Trump released a statement claiming that he would be involved in an orderly transition of power.
“Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th,” Trump said in the statement obtained by CNN. “I have always said we would continue our fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted. While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it’s only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again.”
The statement has the hallmarks of being written by someone from Trump’s press team and Trump supporters on Twitter can clearly read between the lines. One prominent QAnon figure on social media notes that they’re not hearing anything like a concession in that statement. In fact, they believe it’s a signal that Trump intends to continue his fight.
But we should know later today whether Trump really plans to hand over power when he regains access to his Twitter account. Twelve hours isn’t a very long time for an attempted dictator to sit in the time-out corner.