Trump supporters heckle Sen. Mitt Romney aboard flight to DC

Supporters of the outgoing president heckled Utah Sen. Mitt Romney on Tuesday, chanting “traitor” on a flight from Salt Lake City to Washington where the group planned to join protests meant to pressure lawmakers into rejecting the Electoral College results.

The Delta Air Lines flight was at cruising altitude and the cabin lights were dim when a woman began leading the group in a loud rallying cry directed at the Republican senator who didn’t vote for President Donald Trump in November, according to The Washington Post.

“Traitor! Traitor! Traitor!” the group chanted for 20 seconds.

“Resign, Mitt!” another person reportedly shouted.

Someone aboard the aircraft took cellphone video of the episode and posted it to social media, where it went viral Tuesday.

Romney is one of the few Republican voices who has publicly criticized Trump’s false claims of widespread voter fraud and the numerous legal actions by the wider GOP that have sought to overturn the November election that Democrat Joe Biden won.

Romney has previously condemned the ongoing efforts as an “egregious ploy” that “dangerously threatens our democratic Republic.”

Romney continued his criticism of the president Wednesday, saying Trump’s rhetoric may have cost the GOP the two Senate runoffs in Georgia that appeared to be setting up for a Democratic triple crown — with a majority in both houses of Congress and Biden in the White House.

“It turns out that telling voters that the election is rigged is not a great way to turn out your voters,” Romney said, according to ABC News.

Confrontation in airport

The senator was also confronted by an unmasked woman inside Salt Lake City International Airport before boarding the flight, the Post reported.

As the woman approached, a masked Romney told the woman to cover her face to comply with local coronavirus laws.

“Don’t tell me what to do,” the woman snapped, according to the Post. “Why aren’t you supporting President Trump?”

The woman eventually put on her mask, and Romney, who was sitting, engaged in a calm conversation, the Post reported.

“I do support President Trump in things I agree with,” Romney told the woman, who next asked if Romney was going to support Trump’s unsubstantiated claims about “fraudulent votes.”

“No, I’m not,” the senator responded. “We have a Constitution and the constitutional process is clear and then I will follow the Constitution, and I will explain all that when we meet in Congress.”

As the senator stood and began walking away, another assailant followed Romney while yelling, “Your legacy is nothing.” Behind him, the woman who first approached Romney screamed, “You’re a joke. An absolute joke.”

Aboard the plane, the larger group of hecklers was relentless toward Romney, hurling insults and spewing conspiracies, the Post reported.

“You don’t listen to your constituents!” a woman shouted. “We want to know your connection to Burisma and Joe Biden, Mitt Romney,” a woman shouted, referring to the Ukrainian gas company whose board Hunter Biden was paid to serve on.

Potential violence in Washington

The heckling incidents were seen as an ominous sign with thousands of protesters who believe Trump’s unproven voter fraud claims descending on the nation’s capital amid a joint session of Congress to affirm Biden’s victory.

A similar incident aboard an American Airlines flight from Texas to D.C. also went viral in recent days after Biden and Trump supporters got into an angry shouting match.

Congress members have received an emergency security plan in anticipation of potential violence in the streets around the U.S. Capitol.

Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser urged residents not to engage with any protesters “seeking confrontation,” and some downtown businesses have already boarded up windows in case there is violence.

Under her direction, the city’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency on Monday activated the district’s Emergency Operations Center to coordinate federal and local responses to the demonstrations.

“We will do what we must to ensure all who attend remain peaceful,” Bowser said in a Sunday statement.

Pro-Trump protests in November and December in Washington and some other cities ended in violence and property damage. Some far-right protest groups, such as the Proud Boys, have said they will show up for the demonstrations this week.

More than a dozen GOP senators have already indicated they will object to the Electoral College vote count during the proceedings, which is expected to fail but cause a delay in what is typically a ceremonial formality.

The opposition caucus does not have the support of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, who previously said lawmakers should avoid any debate over the legitimacy of the election.

Information provided by Tribune News Service was used to supplement this report.