IN THE NEWS: Congressman Rokita the “rare voice” in support of United Airlines in passenger beating incident

INDIANAPOLIS – Amid a sea of criticism for United Airlines following their forced dragging of a paying customer off of one of their flights, Congressman Rokita yesterday was a lone voice defending the airline for their behavior. At a congressional hearing sparked by last month’s incident, Congressman Rokita cast doubt on the victim’s sanity and blamed him for not following directions, despite multiple apologies from United itself to the victim.

From the IndyStar: Todd Rokita says United passenger shouldn’t have resisted

WASHINGTON — Rep. Todd Rokita offered a rare voice of support for United Airlines at a congressional hearing Tuesday where lawmakers of both parties blasted airlines for crowded flights that sometimes leave passengers and crew members testy.

The Brownsburg Republican said that a passenger dragged off a United Airlines flight to make room for a crew member should have obeyed police and crew members who told him to leave the plane.

“This is a bit of a two-way street. What happened on that United flight shouldn’t have escalated to where it was,” the Indiana Republican said at a hearing of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. “But a grown man, assumedly sane, when approached by law enforcement on an aircraft should abide by the request being made.”

Rokita told Munoz and other airline executives at the hearing that he appreciated their response to the incident.

“I think that the response has been appropriate, and I appreciate each of your leadership in that regard,” he said.

From WXIN FOX-TV [WATCH]: Rokita reacts to controversy

Executives from some of America’s biggest airlines were on Capitol Hill today testifying before the House Transportation Committee on airline passenger rights.

Also, Representative Todd Rokita from Indiana was at that hearing today as well. He defended the airline’s actions. The Republican said that the passenger should have obeyed police and crew members.

Indiana state Democrats put out a statement today in response to Rokita’s comments, saying, quote, “Congressman Rokita will overlook anything, even violence caught on tape.”

From WTHR NBC-TV [WATCH]: Rokita responds to viral video

Congressmen demand answers over a number of viral videos shot on airplanes. But the airlines seem to have the backing of at least one Indiana congressman.

You probably remember this video from a United Airlines flight. It’s hard to forget the passenger’s bloody face as he was dragged off that plane—that’s Dr. David Dao.

But Indiana Congressman Todd Rokita believes it’s a two-way street.

During a House hearing on Capitol Hill, Rokita said that situation should not have happened, but he wasn’t just talking to the Airline CEO, he has a message for travelers too.

From the AP: Congress warns Airlines

WASHINGTON — The chief executive of United Airlines apologized Tuesday on Capitol Hill for an incident in which a passenger was dragged off a flight, calling it “a mistake of epic proportions” as frustrated lawmakers warned airline executives to improve customer service or face congressional intervention.

Most lawmakers agreed, although Rep. Todd Rokita, R-Ind., said Dao bears some responsibility for ignoring orders from law enforcement officers before being dragged off the plane.

From WTTV CBS-TV: Rep. Todd Rokita says injured United passenger shouldn’t have resisted

WASHINGTON – An Indiana congressman defended United Airlines Tuesday, saying a passenger who was dragged off a plane shouldn’t have resisted law enforcement.

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee held a hearing to discuss crowded flights and what could be done to make sure similar situations do not occur in the future.

While lawmakers from both parties blasted the airline, Rep. Todd Rokita offered a rare voice of support, saying Dr. Dao should have obeyed police and crew members.

“This is a bit of a two-way street. What happened on that United flight shouldn’t have escalated to where it was,” said the Brownsburg Republican. “But a grown man, assumedly sane, when approached by law enforcement on an aircraft should abide by the request being made.”

Rokita, a general aviation pilot, also said he doesn’t think Congress needs to address the issue with legislation.

“I would be very hesitant, Mr. Chairman, to have this committee go down an avenue of regulating this,” Rokita said.

Rokita told United CEO Oscar Munoz and other airline executives at the hearing that he appreciated their response to the incident.

“I think that the response has been appropriate, and I appreciate each of your leadership in that regard,” he said. 

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