As a group of veterans arrived on what is known as an “honor flight” at a Washington-area airport last month, a Republican senator who has called for Americans to respect veterans “every day” remained seated while many others in the terminal stood and applauded.
Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana was photographed sitting and looking at a laptop as others in the Southwest Airlines terminal at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport saluted the veterans.
Lamar White Jr., who runs the progressive Louisiana blog The Bayou Brief, posted the photo of Kennedy last month on Twitter and wrote that the incident happened Sept. 7.
“On Sept. 7th at Reagan National Airport, as passengers waited to board Flight WN 258 to New Orleans, an Honor Flight of veterans arrived at the gate and were met with a standing ovation. But one person in the crowd remained seated and uninterested,” he wrote, later revealing that person to be Kennedy.
On Wednesday, White told the American Ledger that several people, including the source who sent him the photo, recognized Kennedy at the gate.
“It was a flight full of Louisianans,” he said. “Everyone there knew who he was.”
In the past, Kennedy has criticized people who don’t show respect for American symbols.
Last year, Kennedy defended President Donald Trump’s attacks on the NFL for not firing players who stood or raised a fist during the national anthem as a silent protest against police brutality toward African-Americans.
“Wouldn’t you love,” Trump said at a rally in Alabama in September 2017, “to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now?’”
Kennedy said he agreed with Trump’s sentiment if not his language.
“I wouldn’t have said it the way he said it, but President Trump is saying what a lot of Americans are thinking,” Kennedy told Time magazine. “Does there have to be politics to everything? I mean, do you really have to inject politics into a football game?”
In a floor speech on Nov. 8, Kennedy said the country needed to “take a moment to reflect on the freedoms that we enjoy every day” and “thank those who have devoted their lives to serve and protect the greatest nation in human history, the United States of America.”
“It is imperative, in my judgment,” he said, “that this Veterans Day — and every day — we honor the service and sacrifices made by our women and our men in uniform.”