Delta Airlines made national headlines last week when they announced their decision to remove discounted tickets for members of the National Rifle Association; prompting the Georgia legislature to kill almost $40 million in tax breaks on fuel.
Delta was one of over 12 companies that ended their relationships with the NRA in response to an anti-NRA campaign conducted after Nikolas Cruz passed a background check, acquired a rifle, and used it to kill 17 people in a gun-free school zone.
Despite criticizing the confrontation with Delta as an "unbecoming squabble", Georgia Republican Gov. Nathan Deal said he would still sign the broader tax bill. Georgia's current governor is Republican Nathan Deal, and he boasted late previous year that tourism in 2016 produced a record $60.8 billion in economic impact for the state.
In his memo, Bastian sought to strike a balance - voicing support for the Second Amendment while saying it wanted to remove any "implied affiliation with the NRA".
Delta, which is based in Atlanta and has 33,000 employees in Georgia, would have been the prime beneficiary of the tax break, estimated to be worth at least $38 million a year to airlines. Bastian applauded the governor in his memo to Delta staff, calling him a "great friend" to the company. "Corporations can not attack conservatives and expect us not to fight back".
The original version of the bill exempted airlines from state sales tax when re-fueling at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson airport. It was originally pitched as an "airline tax break", rather than one that would only benefit Delta.
"I had some discussions with several Democrats and they said, well, 'What if Delta chooses a group I'm affiliated with next time to not give the discount to?' And they agreed that it was discrimination no matter how it was spun", Kirk explained.
China issues war alert to Taiwan over US Bill
Nevertheless, Washington has kept informal relations with the island nation after severing diplomatic ties with it in 1979. However, that visit occurred under Taiwan's previous Ma Ying-jeou administration, which Beijing viewed more favorably.
Delta CEO Ed Bastian insisted Friday "we are not taking sides" in the gun debate.
Perhaps some of these places could feasibly make a play for Delta's corporate headquarters, but the vote in Georgia was about a fuel tax, not some corporate real estate issue.
This week, you have likely seen Delta in coverage of the national debate over gun control and security in USA schools.
"I'm sure if we got someone from a company like Delta who was interested in taking a look at our state, those are the type of conversations that we on the committee would love to have". This decision followed the NRA's controversial statements after the recent school shootings in Florida.
"We can not continue to allow large companies to treat conservatives differently than other customers, employees and partners", Cagle wrote in an opinion piece published by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The decision regarding the gun lobbying organization "was not made for economic gain and our values are not for sale", Bastian added, noting that the carrier is reviewing whether to stop offering discounts to any group "of a politically divisive nature".
The debate over gun control reforms was reignited post the deadly shoot-out by a student at Florida high school on February 18.