The question has nothing to do with race or gender it is simply a question of human decency and the lack of it. Of course, her voting record speaks for itself and the fact that she has said some of the dumbest things ever uttered by a human being (“will the Mars rover be driving around to see the flag Neil Armstrong planted?”) notwithstanding, the people in her district ought to be ashamed of themselves for allowing such an indecent human being represent them. It really is quite sad and quite condemning of a majority of a district that someone so rude and so ignorant can be elected eleven times and counting. I’ll tell you what else is sad, it is sad that the House of Representatives has so little respect for itself as an institution that it does nothing to rid itself of such bores.
‘I’m a queen and I demand to be treated like a queen!’ How Congresswoman involved in race row on plane was chauffeured a block to Congress and was nearly banished from an airline before
- Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, a Texas Democrat, has a storied history of bad behavior on planes and in automobiles
- Previous news reports have captured Jackson Lee berating flight attendants over not getting a seafood meal in first class
- As well as making her Congressional aides, she sometimes referred to as ‘you stupid motherf***er,’ drive her one block to work
- This week the congresswoman suggested a white woman was being a racist when the woman complained after United gave Jackson Lee her first class seat
- The airline has stated that the woman had canceled this leg of her flight, which was how the congresswoman was able to be upgraded to the passenger’s seat
Several decades worth of coverage of Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee suggests she’s behaved badly on planes – and on automobiles – before this week’s incident.
The latest airplane drama came this week when a United Airlines passenger said she was booted from her first class seat to accommodate the Texas Democrat, who shot back by saying the only reason the woman complained was because Jackson Lee is black.
But previous reports show the House member, who was elected in 1994, has had a history of transportation drama, including berating flight attendants on first class flights and making her Congressional staff drive her one block, while waiting on her for hours and disrupting traffic.
She’s been documented calling her employees ‘you stupid motherf***er,’ while referring to herself as Congressional royalty.
‘You don’t understand. I am a queen, and I demand to be treated like a queen,’ she was quoted saying in 1998, three years into her nearly 23-year tenure on Capitol Hill.
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Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee has had a history of bad behavior on airplanes – and in automobiles – even before this week’s row with United, when the Democratic lawmaker was given another passenger’s first class seat and then suggested the woman complained because of racism
Representative Sheila Jackson Lee, from Texas, said did nothing wrong when she was bumped to a first class seat on a December 18 flight from Houston to Washington, D.C. Jackson Lee, however, has had a history of bad behavior on planes – and in automobiles
She was put in seat 1A, which was originally paid for by a Jean-Marie Simon (left), a schoolteacher from Washington DC, who has accused the airline of evicting her from the seat so they could give it to a member of congress
Friends in high places: Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, music executive Clive Davis, William Wilkerson, singer Aretha Franklin and actor Denzel Washington attend Aretha Franklin’s 72nd Birthday Celebration at the Ritz Carlton on March 22, 2014 in New York City
In 2002, the Weekly Standard did a deep dive into her travel demands.
The congresswoman, the article noted, lived about ‘200 paces’ from her Cannon Building Capitol Hill office, though still insisted on a ride.
On December 6, 2001, a blue Ford Contour with government plates pulled up to her apartment building where it idled for 23 minutes, blocking rush hour traffic in the meantime on one of Capitol Hill’s busiest streets, the Weekly Standard said.
When the congresswoman appeared an aide opened the car’s doors for her and waited while Jackson Lee stood outside the automobile to take a phone call.
Then an awkward moment ensued when Jackson Lee stared her staffer down until the congresswoman’s jacket and shawl were removed.
In a 2011 article in the Daily Caller drivers for the lawmaker said she demanded that they run red lights and on highway shoulders – antics that caused one accident.
Jackson Lee was screaming at a staffer to drive faster when the aide turned too sharply and ran the car into a wall, the Daily Caller reported.
While her time was precious, staffers’ testified theirs was not.
‘Whatever time she told me to be there, I would always show up at least 20 minutes later, and expect to wait at least 45 minutes,’ one of Jackson Lee’s drivers told the Daily Caller. ‘She was making me wait in the car, sometimes upwards of five to seven hours per day.’
Idling the car so much started to damage its engine.
‘My mechanic friend said, “you know, your car looks like you’ve driven it twice the miles you have,”‘ the staffer said.
Before this week’s United debacle, Jackson Lee had a tense relationship with Continental, the Houston-based carrier that merged with United in 2010.
Jackson Lee’s staff would book seats on multiple flights for her week-end trips back to Houston, allowing the congresswoman to pick the trip that would best fit her schedule.
This, however, would leave the airline in a bind, the Weekly Standard noted, as Continental wouldn’t be able to sell off the premier seats she didn’t use.
And while Jackson Lee would book coach tickets, the congresswoman was often bumped to first class.
In February 1998, while sitting in first class, Jackson Lee famously berated a flight attendant over her meal choice not being available on the particular plane she chose to fly home on.
‘Don’t you know who I am?’ the congresswoman reportedly said. ‘I’m Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee. Where is my seafood meal? I know it was ordered!’
After this incident, the vice president of Continental’s government affairs office called Jackson Lee and warned her that her behavior needed to improve or she would not be flying the airline again, sources told the Weekly Standard.
A year later, in May 1999, Jackson Lee had boarded a Continental flight out of Washington, D.C.’s Reagan National only to find that she had misplaced her purse.
The congresswoman proceeded to get off the flight to look for the bag back in the terminal, meanwhile the plane had left the gate – with the missing purse on board.
According to aviation lobbyists that the Weekly Standard talked to, Jackson Lee demanded she be let back on the plane and didn’t believe it was against Federal Aviation Administration regulation.
‘She accused the gate staff of racism and demanded to see their supervisor, who was a black woman,’ the Weekly Standard wrote. ‘Her purse, meanwhile, was unceremoniously dropped out of the cockpit window and ferried back to her.’
Eighteen years later, many of the themes remain the same as Jackson Lee pointed to racism as the crux of the problem, protesting she did nothing wrong when she was bumped to a white woman’s seat on December 18 on a flight from Houston to Washington, D.C.
Representative Jackson Lee wrote on Twitter that she was upset she had to respond to allegations that she’d demanded special treatment,
She said she believes that Simon was so offended because she is an African American woman, and said that if it’s perceived she did anything wrong she wants to apologize in the spirit of the holiday season
Jackson Lee was put in seat 1A, which was originally paid for by a Jean-Marie Simon, a schoolteacher from Washington DC, who has accused the airline of evicting her from the seat so they could give it to a member of congress.
The congresswoman said in a statement Tuesday that she is upset she has to respond to allegations that she demanded special treatment.
‘Since this was not any fault of mine, the way the individual continued to act appeared to be, upon reflection, because I was an African American woman, seemingly an easy target along with the African American flight attendant who was very, very nice,’ the 67-year-old Democrat tweeted Tuesday.
‘But in the spirit of this season and out of the sincerity of my heart, if it is perceived that I had anything to do with this, I am kind enough to simply say sorry. But as an African American, I know there are too many examples like this all over the nation.’
Simon claims that after an hour-long weather delay United carelessly tossed her out of her first-class seat to make way for Jackson Lee, saying in a Facebook post that she saw a uniformed airline employee pull the congresswoman from the boarding line and escort her to a first-class seat.
Then Simon, who was on the second leg of her return flight from Guatemala, said she went to the gate to board and was told her ticket wasn’t in the system.
When the attendant asked her if she had canceled her ticket, Simon replied: ‘No. I just want to go home.’
After she was seated, she claims she was told by another passenger that her original seat was occupied by a congresswoman and that he had seen her do it twice before.
The airline compensated her with a $500 voucher and another ticket for that flight in Economy Plus.
And on Monday United again apologized to her and said they would reimburse her with a second $500 voucher.
REPRESENTATIVE SHEILA JACKSON LEE’S FULL STATEMENT
‘I am disappointed in having to respond to this accusation, but I believe transparency is very important. Unfortunately, it looks like Grinch is trying to steal the spirit of the holiday.
Last Monday, I arrived at the airport to catch my flight to Washington to continue my fight to get Hurricane Harvey funds back to Texas and other hard hit areas, along with funding of the Children’s Health Insurance Program and of course, trying to stop a tax bill that was going to cause millions of Americans to lose their health insurance.
After receiving my boarding pass, I boarded the plane in the normal process. I did nothing wrong. I asked for nothing exceptional or out of the ordinary and received nothing exceptional or out of the ordinary. I proceeded to take my seat and work on legislative issues on my way to Washington.
Although I was not involved, I observed a disruption by an individual walking back and forth in the cabin. I could overhear her speaking with a flight attendant (an African American woman).
I saw the gate agent go to the seat of the individual who was walking back and forth before we took off.
I later came to understand that the individual had canceled her own flight. However I had nothing to do with that.
I noted that this individual came toward me and took a picture. I heard later that she might have said “I know who she is.” Since this was not any fault of mine, the way the individual continued to act appeared to be, upon reflection, because I was an African American woman, seemingly an easy target along with the African American flight attendant who was very, very nice.
This saddens me, especially at this time of year given all of the things we have to work on to help people. But in the spirit of this season and out of the sincerity of my heart, if it is perceived that I had anything to do with this, I am kind enough to simply say sorry.
I understand the airline is working to address the passenger’s concerns. I am glad of that. But as an African American, I know there are too many examples like this all over the nation.
I hope one day, we will accept our collective diversity. Happy Holidays.’
Immediately after the incident the airline denied Simon’s claims.
‘After thoroughly examining our electronic records, we found that upon receiving a notification that Flight 788 was delayed due to weather, the customer appears to have canceled her flight from Houston to Washington, DC within the United mobile app,’ United said in a statement.
‘As part of the normal pre-boarding process, gate agents began clearing standby and upgrade customers, including the first customer on the waitlist for an upgrade.’
Simon denied the airline’s claim that she canceled her ticket, leading to the mix-up
Simon denies the airline’s claim that she canceled her ticket and claims United staff threatened to remove her from the flight for complaining and for taking a photo of Lee in her seat.
The teacher said she has screenshots of her United app that shows a canceled flight to Houston in August during Hurricane Harvey when she was supposed to visit her daughter, according to the Houston Chronicle.
United says the screenshot wouldn’t show the December 18 flight as canceled because Simon did eventually end up taking the flight.
And regardless of the turnout – Representative Jackson Lee said she did ‘nothing wrong.’
‘I asked for nothing exceptional or out of the ordinary and received nothing exceptional or out of the ordinary. I proceeded to take my seat and work on legislative issues on my way to Washington,’ she wrote.
She said she overheard someone say the woman ‘cancelled her own flight,’ and that she ‘noted that this individual came toward me and took a picture. I heard later that she might have said “I know who she is.”‘
Simon also said she hopes the airline makes everything right with Simon.
But other people on the flight claim they have witnessed the congresswoman carry out similar behavior at least three times before.
‘I’ve seen Lee and IAH cutting in line and rudely taking advantage of her status before. United knows she will play the race card if she isn’t treated like royalty so they just give in. They don’t care about a hard working teacher vs a privileged idiot,’ one person tweeted.
Simon has denied all claims that her anger and frustration with United had to do with race.
‘I had no idea who was in my seat when I complained at the gate that my seat had been given to someone else,’ she said.
‘There is no way you can see who is in a seat from inside the terminal.’
Simon said that five minutes after she snapped the photo of Jackson Lee, another flight attendant sat next to her and asked her if she ‘was going to be a problem.’
The teacher said she was so distraught by how the airline treated her that after she arrived home she wrote a letter to the CEO, Oscar Munoz, and posted it on social media.
An airline representative contacted her last Saturday morning and repeatedly apologized.
Simon has asked for a formal, written apology.
‘It’s just impossible to suspend disbelief and swallow that story that I cancelled my flight,’ she said said.