Yesterday, a couple was kicked off a JetBlue flight before it left JFK after they expressed their displeasure with fellow passengers Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner. Brooklyn lawyer Dan Goldstein and his husband Matthew Lasner, a Hunter College professor, and their child were removed from the San Francisco-bound flight around 10:30 a.m. Thursday. But while TMZ and other outlets initially reported that Goldstein was "screaming" and "out of control" when he confronted Trump, at least one eyewitness had a very different take on the incident.
Marc Scheff, who sat in the "next row up from Ivanka," wrote in a Facebook post that Goldstein did not yell, but was agitated when he realized who else was sitting in coach.
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 for sure. 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. She handled the situation calmly and with class. Security made the call to remove the man.
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.
Lasner wrote a series of now-deleted tweets before and after the confrontation occurred: In the initial tweet, sent out around 9:15 a.m., he wrote, "Ivanka and Jared at JFK T5, flying commercial. My husband chasing them down to harass them. #banalityofevil." Then about an hour later, Lasner wrote, "Ivanka and Jared on our flight. My husband expressed displeasure in a calm tone, JetBlue staff overheard, and they kicked us off the plane." In a final tweet, about 20 minutes after that, he tweeted the photo of Ivanka with the caption, "Ivanka just before @JetBlue kicked us off our flight when a flt attendant overhead my husband expressing displeasure about flying w/ Trumps."
That escalated quickly pic.twitter.com/fcZwZNcho9
— Justin Green (@JGreenDC) December 22, 2016
Personal politics aside, Scheff thought the airline made the right decision to remove the family from the flight: "Honestly, if I was her security I would have made the same call. 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. And his husband had tweeted that he planned on doing that." He added, "I'm less concerned about verbal attacks on Ivanka Trump than I am about the attacks on our civil liberties and institutions by the incoming administration."
White House press secretary Sean Spicer told NBC that the President-elect was "obviously disappointed but he’s proud that JetBlue took the appropriate action." In another interview, he called the incident harassment and "un-American," adding, "Ivanka is the epitome of class and grace. And I think she exhibited that yesterday. This individual … put out a tweet that he wanted to go and harass her. And JetBlue made the right call by doing that. But Ivanka and Jared and the kids were trying to enjoy a private moment."
After they arrived in San Francisco, the Trump-Kushner clan then boarded a private jet to Hawaii; it's unclear why they weren't flying a private jet to begin with. For what it's worth, in a rare show of local tabloid unity, both the Daily News and NY Post were in agreement that Goldstein should have been removed for the plane outburst.
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) December 23, 2016
— New York Post (@nypost) December 23, 2016