Delta Air Lines’ relationship with its home state of Georgia has been souring in recent days, after Delta announced it would end its discount program for National Rifle Association members and Republican Party leaders in the state responded by threatening to kill a tax break that benefits Delta.
But top officials from Democratic states have a different message for Delta: move here. Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, as well as the lieutenant governors of New York and Washington states, have told the Atlanta-based carrier that it can move its headquarters to their states if Delta no longer feels welcome in Georgia.
On Monday, Georgia Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle, who is running for governor, said on Twitter that he would “kill any tax legislation that benefits @Delta unless the company changes its position and fully reinstates its relationship with [the] @NRA.”
Virginia, New York and Washington officials all tweeted at Delta with a lifeline.
“Hey @delta—Virginia is for lovers and airline hubs. You’re welcome here any time,” wrote Northam said Tuesday morning.
“.@Delta, if Georgia politicians disagree with your stand against gun violence, we invite you to move your headquarters to New York,” Cuomo added Tuesday afternoon.
“.@Delta, as one of your most frequent flyers, know that the NY LG admires your principled stance,” New York Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said Monday afternoon. “Let’s continue our great relationship. NY is open for business & [loves] Delta – move HQ to where you’re appreciated?”
“With all due respect to my fellow LG from Georgia, I’d like to thank @Delta for joining the many companies that have ended their partnerships with the NRA, and let them know that they are certainly welcome in our state,” Washington Lieutenant Governor Cyrus Habib said later Monday night.
Delta’s move to end discounts for NRA members came in the wake of this month’s deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida, which left 17 people dead and reignited the gun control debate in America.
The company also professed its neutrality in a statement Saturday: “Out of respect for our customers and employees on both sides, Delta has taken this action to refrain from entering this debate and focus on its business. Delta continues to support the 2nd Amendment.”
Delta Air Lines is not the only corporation to break ties with the National Rifle Association following the Florida shooting. Competing carrier United, as well as major businesses like MetLife and Enterprise Rent-A-Car, have ended discount programs for NRA members.