Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly is holding on to the narrative that all is fine within his company and that the immense cancelations of flights across his company have nothing to do with pilots and staff revolting against the vaccine mandate imposed by his company.
Despite this denial, Kelly is shifting blame for the mandates away from himself and putting them on Biden.
Kelly appeared on “Good Morning America” where he apologized to customers for the inconveniences they’re experiencing due to the canceled flights. When pressed on whether this has something to do with the vaccine mandates, Kelly claimed that there wasn’t any evidence to support that.
“There’s just no evidence of that,” said Kelly.
He immediately attempted to switch gears and put the focus back on efforts to get things up and running again.
“Our people are working very hard. I’m very proud of them, especially when we get into a difficult situation like this, they’re also delayed,” he said. “They’re also ending up in places they didn’t expect … our people are doing a phenomenal job.”
“I want to apologize to all of our customers. This is not what we want but unfortunately it just takes a couple of days to get things back on track."
— Good Morning America (@GMA) October 12, 2021
Perhaps Kelly was attempting to generate sympathy for his company or possibly even himself and might have succeeded if it wasn’t for a few very obvious clues.
For one, it’s absolutely about the vaccine mandates.
Last night Tucker Carlson interviewed US Freedom Flyers co-founder and commercial airline pilot Joshua Yoder, who made it clear that there is resistance against these vaccine mandates and noted that he and his friends are standing up to this mandate.
“My motive for resisting it is primarily religious for myself. Among my friends, I saw a need. Many of us don’t want to take this. People were being coerced, I believe in freedom and I’m here to support the freedom of my fellow employees and all people across this country. I’m not going to take a mandate, I’m not going to be forced to do something I don’t believe in,” Yoder told Carlson.
As Nick Arama reported earlier Tuesday, Southwest blamed bad weather but no bad weather was showing up on weather radars. This “bad weather” didn’t seem to be affecting other airlines as well. Southwest denied any problems with staffing issues but the FAA labeled the issue as “aircraft and crews being out of place.”
Then there was the statement from the Southwest Pilots Association that made it clear they were unhappy about the vaccine mandate. Southwest has been facing staffing issues according to the SPA and that the mandates haven’t helped.
“All of these challenges have led to an added distraction in the cockpit,” they said. “This week’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate announcement by the Company only exacerbates the situation.”
It’s likely Kelly senses this cat will eventually get out of the bag, explaining why he’s shifting blame to Biden for the forced mandates. He also appeared on CNBC point-blank making it clear that he’s not in support of the mandates but Biden is forcing his hand.
“I’m not in favor of that, never have been,” he told CNBC. “But the executive order from President Biden mandates that all federal employees, and then all federal contractors, which covers all the major airlines, have to have a mandate.”
Kelly urged pilots to get vaccinated but said if they can’t or won’t to seek exemptions, adding that his goal is for no one to lose their jobs.
Southwest CEO blames Biden for vax mandate: “I’m not in favor of that, never have been. But the executive order from President Biden mandates that all federal employees, and then all federal contractors, which covers all the major airlines, have to have a mandate.” pic.twitter.com/TQs21CEMoG
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) October 12, 2021
It’s unclear as to why Kelly would tell the obvious lie about there being a lack of evidence for employees withdrawing from work over the vaccine mandates when the writing is metaphorically on the wall and very literally on social media.
This photo was just sent to me of a grounded Southwest plane flying a Gadsden flag out of the cockpit. The Hero Pilots at Southwest and other Airlines deserve our support. True patriots worthy of the American Freedom Fighter tradition.
Don’t Tread On Me.
God Bless Them 🇺🇸✈️🙏🏻 pic.twitter.com/tAo9pT4Q60
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) October 11, 2021
Perhaps the better move would have been for Kelly to admit these delays and cancelations were caused by the vaccine mandate and emphasized that he himself doesn’t want these mandates as he did. This would have forced Biden and the media to deal with the fallout of their own mess. Instead, the attention has been drawn to Kelly who now looks like a Biden lackey despite his outward disagreement with the mandates.