AUSTIN (KXAN) — An unnamed man was bumped from a flight he was scheduled to share with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday night after reportedly causing a scene at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.
The man, dressed in jeans and a T-shirt, approached Abbott as he, and other passengers, waited for a delayed 9:20 p.m. nonstop flight to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.
Abbott Communications Director Matt Hirsch was with Abbott when the incident happened and says the man went for a handshake and then loudly exclaimed, “I hope you [expletive] go to hell because of your stance on gay marriage. I’m going to see you on the plane.”
Texas Department of Public Safety troopers, also traveling with Abbott, reportedly asked the man to step back. The man was not on the plane for takeoff after being taken for questioning by Port Authority police.
“Other passengers seemed unnerved a little bit by it,” said Hirsch, who said he could not recall Abbott experiencing anything like the incident before.
Abbott’s wife and daughter were with the governor in New York. He was there to promote Texas as a business destination, and he also got to ring the bell for the opening of the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday morning.
Abbott is very vocal about his belief in, what some consider, “traditional marriage.”
“The governor respects and is always willing to listen to the viewpoints of others,” Hirsch said. “He’s grateful for the airport officials who handled the incident in a professional manner.”