Mike Pence’s Office Accidentally Leaks Secret Meeting with Airline CEOs

Gage Skidmore

Airline CEOs from several major U.S. carriers recently held what was supposed to be a private meeting with Trump, but the word is out thanks to a mistake by Vice President Mike Pence’s office, NBC News reported Monday.

On July 18, representatives from United, American Airlines, Delta, and others met in the Oval Office with Trump and his trade adviser, Peter Navarro, along with other top White House officials to discuss an issue the U.S.-based carriers had with carriers based in the Middle East.

“The airlines were told not to tell the media or others about the meeting,” NBC News reported. “But Vice President Mike Pence’s office accidentally listed it on his public schedule.”

In an effort to get a White House meeting, the airline CEOs exploited Trump’s obsessive cable news habit, especially his fondness for Fox News.

The CEOs began airing commercials on Fox, including during Trump’s favorite show “Fox & Friends,” to make their case. Trump’s mornings are often filled with “executive time,” where Trump spends time in the White House residence, watching and often tweeting about Fox’s morning program.

The paid advertising paid off, apparently.

“I’ve been seeing all these ads — what’s up with these ads?” Trump asked, according NBC News.

Even though the airline CEOs obtained an Oval Office meeting, NBC reports that it did not go well for them. Trump mocked American Airlines CEO Doug Parker over the company’s sagging stock prices. And Trump was apparently annoyed that Delta’s CEO could not attend the meeting, bringing up his absence multiple times.

Further, the meeting was filled with “a lot of yelling,” one of the attendants told NBC.

The U.S.-based companies are unhappy about Qatar Airways and two Emirati airlines that had flights from the United States to Europe, but were heavily subsidized by their own governments. The U.S. companies said the other airlines could offer lower fares and thus undercut American companies.

In the end, Trump sided against the U.S. airlines.

In June, Trump refused to endorse any future presidential run by Pence. Unforced errors like leaking secret meetings probably won’t help Pence earn that endorsement.

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