Freakout on an airplane

I’ve been wondering what leftists mean when they say they don’t want to “normalize” Donald Trump. Here is some of what they seem to have in mind.

Dan Goldstein, a Brooklyn lawyer, and his “partner,” a college professor, were kicked off a plane at JFK airport this morning because Goldstein harangued Ivanka Trump just before takeoff. Ivanaka was with her husband and small children. Goldstein and his partner also had a child with them.

The harassment was premeditated. Before boarding the plane, Goldstein’s partner, Mathew Lasner, tweeted:

Ivanka and Jared at JFK T5, flying commercial. My husband chasing them down to harass them.

He seem so proud. Charming.

On the plane, Goldstein reportedly told Ivanka: “Your father is ruining the country.” He also asked a a flight attendant, “Why is she on our flight? She should be flying private.”

This is an odd thing for a leftist to say, but apparently Goldstein, in addition to political objections, was unhappy about the disruption caused by security arrangements. The combination of conservatism and personal inconvenience was too much from this leftist to bear.

It has also been reported that Goldstein jeered at Ivanka’s children. I haven’t seen confirmation of this. One hopes that even a freaked out leftist wouldn’t sink that low.

Initial reports were that Goldstein shouted at Ivanka. His partner claims that Goldstein spoke calmly. The account of a witness sitting near Ivanka is that Goldstein did not shout, but was agitated and shaking.

Ivanka, by all accounts, handled the situation with class. She did not react to the harassment and tried to distract her children with crayons.

Ivanka reportedly told flight staff “I don’t want to make this a thing.” However, flight staff ejected the belligerent lawyer and his partner. Jet Blue arranged for them to fly on the next flight to San Francisco.

It isn’t normal to harangue family members of public officials (or those soon to become public officials) whom one doesn’t like, as they try to go about their lives. And it’s downright creepy to harangue them in front of their children.

Goldstein’s defenders may say that Ivanka Trump isn’t a normal family member. She advises her father on policy and can almost be thought of as the First Lady.

I would respond that it isn’t normal to harangue the First Lady. Imagine the reaction if someone had harassed Michelle Obama in the coach section of a commercial flight. (Actually, it’s hard to imagine Michelle Obama on a commercial flight; she traveled in luxury).

We have the right in this country to tell the daughter of someone who soon will take public office what we think of her father. Civility, indeed decency, counsels strongly against it, but there is no law that requires people to be civil or decent.

However, passengers in an airplane cabin have the right to travel free from undue agitation. JetBlue describes its policy as follows:

If the crew determines that a customer is causing conflict on the aircraft, the customer will be asked to deplane, especially if the crew feels the situation runs the risk of escalation during flight.

Based on reports of Goldstein’s behavior, JetBlue’s decision to kick Goldstein off the plane seems consistent with this sensible policy. Absent clear indications that Goldstein had calmed down and was very unlikely to resume his harassment, the decision was the correct one, in my view.

Goldstein got his say. JetBlue’s passengers, including Ivanka and her family, got a tranquil, conflict-free flight.

And, as at the play “Hamilton,” the American public got another look at how leftists ignore the norms of civility, and at the classy way in which Trump’s close associates respond.

If the left keeps this up, Trump soon will be fully “normalized” and a clear majority of Americans will be on his side.

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