GOP congressmen are upset that airlines are training pilots who aren't white men

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Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) accused United Airlines of engaging in 'progressive fascism.'

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) unleashed a racist and sexist attack on United Airlines on Thursday, demanding to know which pilots receive training as part of the company's new effort to diversify its workforce.

"Airlines should advertise the exact flights flown by pilots who were chosen as part of their new diversity programs rather than the outdated programs based solely on skill, experience, and qualifications," Massie tweeted.

Massie was apparently upset about an announcement by United on Tuesday of its plans to launch a pilot training academy: "Our flight deck should reflect the diverse group of people on board our planes every day. That's why we plan for 50% of the 5,000 pilots we train in the next decade to be women or people of color."

United made clear that it was not lowering its standards for the sake of diversity, tweeting, "All the highly qualified candidates we accept into the academy, regardless of race or sex, will have met or exceeded the standards we set for admittance."

Others on the right are also outraged that the airline is seeking to diversify its cadre of pilots.

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) accused United of "progressive fascism," during an appearance on Fox News on Thursday, launching into an extended complaint about the company's reaction to voter suppression legislation enacted in Georgia and saying, "If they want to hire based on quotas and virtue signal to us, and imply that people didn't have these opportunities to begin with, fine, but don't lie about other policy."

Crenshaw, who accused United of meddling in issues it knows nothing about, accepted at least $4,000 from its corporate PAC for his 2020 reelection race.

"United Airlines is now prioritizing race and gender over qualifications for hiring future pilots," tweeted Brigitte Gabriel, founder of ACT for America, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated an anti-Muslim hate group. "They are literally putting the lives of their customers at risk in the name of being woke."

Fox News host Tucker Carlson said in an opinion column published by Fox News, "If hiring on the basis of irrelevant criteria will, over time, get people killed, why are they demanding it? Because they don't care. They're ideologues. They're suffering from an incurable brain disease called wokeness. Reality means nothing to them. It's merely an impediment to their plans."

The aviation industry in the United States does not come close to reflecting the nation's diversity. United said this week that just 7% of its pilots are women and 13% are people of color. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 94% of professional pilots in the United States are white and just 5.6% are women.

Massie's previous appearances in the news have been for such moves as demanding that House members who had left the capital travel back to Washington, D.C., for a roll-call vote on coronavirus relief in March 2020 and, during an April 2019 House committee hearing on climate change, calling former Secretary of State John Kerry's bachelors of arts degree in political science from Yale University a "pseudoscience degree."

Even Donald Trump called Massie "a third rate Grandstander" who "just wants the publicity," a "do nothing Kentucky politician," and a "disaster for America, and for the Great State of Kentucky!"

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.