Bastian made the remarks on CNBC on Thursday morning, where he said the majority of the e-mails he received were in support of Delta’s move.
“I’d say 75 percent if not more have been positive, have been supportive of the stance we take,” Bastian said during the CNBC interview. “People respect the fact that we make our own decisions and we stand by them and we’re not ‘selling out’ relative to political interests, and I think we gained a lot of fans.”
After the airline in February ended a discount for members to fly to the gun group’s annual convention, Lt. Gov Casey Cagle, a Republican gubernatorial candidate, pledged to “kill any tax legislation” that benefits Delta unless the airline reinstates its relationship with the NRA. “Corporations cannot attack conservatives and expect us not to fight back,” Cagle tweeted.
Delta faced significant backlash on social media, along with messages in support, and Bastian acknowledged in the television interview: “In my years in the industry I’ve never seen a topic that’s delivered as much emotion as this one.”
“We felt the state legislature was pushing us with respect to some of our business practices to a place we weren’t comfortable going,” he said on CNBC.
Delta also donated charter flights for students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. to participate in the “March For Our Lives” rally against gun violence in Washington, D.C. in March.
“We’re big believers in the Second Amendment, we’re also big believers in the First Amendment, and letting our kids have a voice in this process,” Bastian told CNBC.
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