President Donald Trump meets with airline CEOs, results in ‘yelling’
A meeting between President Donald Trump, the CEOs of some of the biggest airlines in the U.S. and Qatar Airways CEO Akbar al Baker devolved into “a lot of yelling,” according to a report from NBC News detailing the meeting.
The group met in the Oval Office in what NBC News called an “‘Apprentice’-worthy showdown.” The outlet reported CEOs of American Airlines and United Airways were in attendance to air some grievances regarding what they believe are unfair practices by airlines in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
However — and much to Trump’s chagrin — Delta Airlines CEO Ed Bastian was absent, according to NBC News.
“The president kept going back to it,” a source who attended the meeting told NBC News regarding Bastian’s absence. “There was a lot of yelling.”
The July 18 meeting, which was meant to be a secret, was also attended by a host of Trump’s aides, including acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham, according to NBC News. And Sen. Jim Risch, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was also there, NBC News reported.
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Airline CEOs: Subsidized Gulf airlines are violating trade agreements, threatening US jobs
Also in attendance were the CEOs of FedEx, JetBlue and Atlas Air, according to NBC News.
According to the outlet, Doug Parker and Oscar Munoz, CEOs of American and United, respectively, went into the meeting expecting Trump to side with them on their allegations that Qatar and the UAE subsidize their airlines, which gives three foreign airlines a competitive advantage.
The three CEOs outlined their problems with government subsidies given the airlines — Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways — by Qatar and the United Arab Emirates in an op-ed published by USA TODAY on July 15.
“Subsidies allow these carriers to fly money-losing flights in a way no rational commercial airline could afford,” the three CEOs wrote.
They added, “This administration knows a trade violation when it sees one. The United States must act decisively to hold Qatar and the UAE accountable. Failure to do so would reward bad behavior and signal to other countries that they too are free to exploit American workers. That is a dangerous precedent that our airline workers and our country cannot afford.”
Trump, according to NBC News, made fun of Parker for American Airlines’ stock prices and “repeatedly harped on Bastian’s absence.”
NBC News reported in order to get Trump’s attention, the three American CEOs placed ads on Fox News.
In the end, Trump told the airline CEOs to take their issues to the Department of Transportation, according to NBC News — where it had already been determined that the three American companies would lose.