In an incident caught on camera Monday, a former senator bravely stood up for the rights of a voiceless minority—himself—with an impassioned speech that ultimately saw him unwillingly removed from a JetBlue flight.
Former New York Senator and proud Trump supporter Al D’Amato was supposed to fly from Ft Lauderdale to JFK on a JetBlue flight Monday night. But his flight plans fell apart, the New York Post reports, after he tried to lead the back of the plane in a coup against the extra legroom passengers.
According to reports, the flight was delayed nearly seven hours, during which time the flight crew tried to move people who had paid for extra legroom seats claiming “weight and balance issues.”
D’Amato, who reportedly had “sparse” legroom, was a fan of the reshuffling and took up the cause enthusiastically. But like many a civil rights protestor before him, he was ultimately silenced by The Man. To wit:
D’Amato, who was sitting toward the back of the plane — in a seat with sparse legroom — began chanting “make them move,” which a smattering of fellow passengers took up, and marched up and down the aisle.
The outburst prompted the crew to ask D’Amato to leave. When he didn’t, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office was called in.
“We can still speak in this country, and what you’re doing to me... I make an appeal to all you people,” he said as he was escorted off the plane. “Stand up for what’s right, and walk out with me. If you don’t, then what do you stand up for?”
Apparently two people followed. Everyone else was given a $100 certificate.
“Anyone who knows Senator D’Amato knows he speaks his mind—but in this case he spoke after a long and demanding trip to Florida to visit an ailing friend, a five hour airport ground delay, additional delays as the crew sought to deal with weight and balance issues and then sleep deprivation,” a rep said in an emailed statement. “Jet Blue has apologized to the Senator for over reacting and the Senator apologized for speaking his mind at a time when he clearly had left his patience at the gate.”
Still, it’s just like MLK said—The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy, which, God willing, is not in the way of the beverage carts.
Here’s the full video, courtesy of the Smithsonian, I presume: