Gov. John Kasich of Ohio said the recent United Airlines fiasco provided a perfect example of what’s wrong in the US and why the candidacy of President Donald Trump went so unexpectedly well.
‘It was an example of where people … where this guy was treated as a widget and not as a human being,” Kasich told Business Insider on Monday while promoting his new book, “Two Paths: America Divided or United.”
“People want to know that they’re not alone,” Kasich said.
Kasich referred to Trump’s presidential campaign, which he said was so successful because Trump’s candidacy provided hope for people who felt as if no one was looking out for them.
The United incident occurred aboard a flight scheduled to travel from Chicago to Louisville on April 9. A passenger, 69-year-old David Dao, was dragged off the flight by aviation police officers after he refused to give up his seat. The entire incident was recorded by another passenger who posted it online, where it quickly went viral.
Public outrage swelled against both United and the airline-industry practice of overbooking flights. An April poll from Public Policy Polling found that a plurality of respondents now feel that United is the “worst” airline in the country.
Kasich also pointed to United employees at the flight’s gate, asking why they didn’t step in and realise it was “not appropriate.”
“Why didn’t they say, ‘We’re not yanking this guy off, that’s not appropriate?'” Kasich said. “Organisations work well when they have a leader that has a vision to take that organisation to a better place. And then you have followers in that organisation that buy in.”
United CEO Oscar Munoz came under fire for his response to the incident, which included multiple statements that only swelled public outrage. The company later decided to not go forward with a promotion Munoz was set to receive — moving from CEO to company chairman.
“Now if the leader gets off track, why are the followers blindly following?” Kasich said. “They shouldn’t. And there are leaders within the followers. Somebody should have said something. Not just in that, but in so many things. You know, Wells Fargo, there’s a perfect example. Opening phony accounts. Now there were people in that organisation who complained, but the leaders didn’t listen. So what I think we need to do is realise that values matter, that virtue is good.”
Kasich, the Ohio Republican and 2016 presidential candidate, admitted that “anybody who talks about these kinds of things could be hoisted on their own self-righteous petard” and “we’re all hypocrites.”
“We all say one thing and do another,” he said. “But why don’t we try to do what we say more than … we don’t. And so, when I look at United, I see a breakdown throughout that company. But not just the guy at the top. … I think also the people that were there that day saying ‘you know what, I don’t think that’s how you treat a human being.'”
Referencing a comment his wife, Karen Kasich, made to him, the governor said it can be a problem for people to speak up in such situations when they have kids and mortgages to worry about.
“It is tough,” he said. “And maybe that’s why the managers and leaders within an organisation need to stand up. But these are not acceptable things. And the reason why this went viral is because people think nobody cares about them. ‘Oh, I’m just a passenger on a plane, I’m a widget, they’re just going to yank me off.’ The people are now saying, ‘Wait a minute, that’s not right.'”
Watch Kasich’s comments to Business Insider:
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