Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian, in an effort to defuse widespread perceptions on social media about the airline’s apparent initial support for Georgia’s new voting restriction law, which led to the #BoycottDelta movement, got into a war of words Wednesday with Gov. Brian Kemp.
The bill Kemp signed last week is another issue that has divided the nation. Kemp and supporters of the new law say it addresses illegal voting and voter fraud. Opponents argue that this amounts to voter suppression rather than voter suppression, especially among minorities.
Last week, Bastian issued a tepid statement in which he appeared to express support for the bill, saying that with Delta’s help, the final bill was greatly improved.
This led to a boycott of Atlanta companies such as Delta, Coca-Cola and Home Depot.
This time, Bastian didn’t mince words.
In a new statement sent to Delta staff Wednesday, he called the bill unacceptable and wrote that he now understands the bill was based on lies.
I must make it very clear that the final bill is unacceptable and inconsistent with Delta’s values, Bastian wrote. After taking the time to fully understand everything in the bill, combined with conversations with black community leaders and employees, it is clear that the bill contains provisions that will make it more difficult for many underrepresented voters, particularly black voters, to exercise their constitutional right to elect their representatives. It’s not fair.
He added that the entire logic of this bill is based on a lie: There was widespread voter fraud in the 2020 elections in Georgia. That’s not true. Unfortunately, this excuse is used in every state that tries to pass such legislation to limit voting rights.
This prompted the Kemp government to retaliate.
Today’s statement from Delta CEO Ed Bastian stands in stark contrast to the conversations we’ve had with the company, ignores the substance of the new law and unfortunately continues to propagate the same false attacks repeated by partisan activists, Kemp said in a statement, according to CNN. Bastian is expected to compare Georgia’s election laws – which include non-return ballots, online voter registration, 17 days of early voting with two additional optional Sundays, and automatic voter registration for driver’s licenses – to other states where Delta Airlines operates.
Delta declined to comment on Kemp’s statement.
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