A male passenger was removed from a JetBlue flight on Thursday morning after reportedly “berating” Ivanka Trump and her family shortly before takeoff at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.
According to TMZ, the unruly passenger spotted the president-elect’s daughter in coach on the Florida-bound flight.
“Your father is ruining the country,” the man told Trump, according to TMZ. “Why is she on our flight? She should be flying private.”
As JetBlue personnel escorted him off the plane, he purportedly protested, screaming, “You’re kicking me off for expressing my opinion?”
The airline confirmed the crew removed the unidentified passenger placed him and his family on the next available flight.
“The decision to remove a customer from a flight is not taken lightly,” a JetBlue spokesman said in a statement. “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. In this instance, our team worked to re-accommodate the party on the next available flight.”
About an hour before the incident, a man who identified himself as the husband of the passenger in question tweeted that they recognized Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, inside the JetBlue terminal.
“Ivanka and Jared at JFK T5, flying commercial,” Matthew Lasner, a professor at Hunter College, tweeted. “My husband chasing them down to harass them.”
In a subsequent tweet, he claimed his husband expressed displeasure about having to travel with Trump and Kushner “in a calm tone, JetBlue staff overheard, and they kicked us off the plane.”
His tweets were later deleted.
A man who identified himself as a passenger sitting in the row in front of Ivanka Trump took to Facebook to give his version of the incident:
Here is what happened. He didn’t accost her directly. When he got on and saw her, sitting behind me, he said “oh my god. This is a nightmare” and was visibly shaking. He said “they ruin the country now they ruin our flight!” (Context: Boarding and therefore the flight was delayed because they needed to get on first through some other way.) He did not yell. He was also not what I would describe as calm. Agitated maybe. His husband behind him was very calm. His son is adorable and sharply dressed. When the JetBlue staff went back to speak to the man I overheard Ivanka say to them “I don’t want to make this a thing.” My assessment is that she was happy to let the man take his seat. Security made a different call. And for good reason. The man’s calm husband had tweeted earlier that his husband was “chasing them down to harass them.” I did not witness his actual removal some rows back. If he screamed, I didn’t hear it.
“Honestly, if I was her security I would have made the same call,” he added. “I don’t *think* the man was capable of violence, sure. But I would worry that he would leave his seat or cause a scene in some way.”
Ivanka Trump has had Secret Service protection since September because of threats made against her. Late last month, Secret Service agents arrested Ivanka Trump’s longtime stalker less than two blocks from Trump Tower.