Austin-Area Congressman Stands Up On Southwest Flight, Flouts Mask Mandate

Congressman Chip Roy (R-TX), who represents 10 counties in Texas including parts of Austin and areas North of San Antonio, frustrates me. He was Senator Ted Cruz’s Chief of Staff. He was a critic of Donald Trump until he ran for Congress when he became a supporter. He opposed the President’s calls to overturn the 2020 Presidential election, declared the President to have committed impeachable offenses, but voted against impeachment.

He calls for ‘law and order’ but doesn’t seem to think those rules apply to him.

  • He made a show of flouting House security screening rules put in place after January 6th

  • And favored ignoring guidelines to limit Covid-19 spread during the pandemic. He may have been right that the guidelines, as practiced in the U.S., wouldn’t have done much. But it was a show of consistent defiance of elite opinion and authority for the Congressman.

  • He was formally warned in May over his refusal to wear a mask on the House floor.

  • And now he made a show of flouting mask rules on a Southwest Airlines flight from Washington National airport home to Austin.

Congressman Roy flew Southwest Airlines from Washington National to Austin on Tuesday to attend former President Trump’s border event. He was photographed without a mask, and there’s three minute-long video showing him without his mask as well. Here’s a snippet:

The Associated Press was provided a photo and a nearly three-minute video from a Southwest Airlines flight showing a bare-faced Roy chatting with fellow passengers while standing in the aisle of the plane. The video and a photo were provided to the AP on the condition of anonymity by another passenger.

According to Southwest Airlines nothing happened here since they received no “irregularity reports.”

Roy has spoken out against the federal mask mandate, and about the silliness of requiring low quality masks.

“With cotton masks on an airplane, where everybody is pretending like they’re doing something noble to try to save people from a virus on a cylinder with 50 people on it flying through the air,” Roy said in the interview. “My question to you all is how are people wearing a cotton mask on an airplane saving you from circulating virus on an airplane?”

I actually agree that the federal transportation mask mandate makes no sense. Yet it still seems odd to see Congressman Roy simply disobey the rule rather than challenging it in court.

  • The federal rule replaced airline mandates that were in many cases stricter than the federal rule
  • Mandates have outlived their usefulness in an area where anyone 12 or over who wants a vaccine can get one
  • The mask mandate is likely beyond the CDC’s statutory authority, and if the CDC’s powers are read broadly enough to authorize it then the statute itself may be an unconstitutional delegation of legislative authority to an executive agency.

Chip Roy was barely elected to Congress in 2018. But he was re-elected with a much stronger showing in 2020, because in Republicans faced national Democrats who appeal to coastal donors rather than Texas Democrats in the Ann Richards mold. His opponent was Wendy Davis, who got trounced by over 20 points when she ran for Governor in 2014. She became a hero the left, derided as ‘abortion barbie’ on the right. But no matter what you think of her, she’s not the best Democrat to challenge a Republican incumbent in a Repubican-lean district.

He strikes me as principled, and as someone who wants to seem themselves as principled, but who will consistently compromise those principles for political expediency. And who picks small ball flash point issues on which to take a stand, and that takes away from highlighting matters of graver importance.

If this was meant as some kind of civil disobedience, what we he trying to accomplish… another insurrection?

What his protest comes down to is “masks for thee, but not for me.” He’s a Congressman, and U.S. airlines are now wards of the State. The rules do not apply to our betters. And that’s truly bipartisan.

(HT: Live and Let’s Fly)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Good job showing John Kerry, Democrat 1%er, who usually flies in private or government jets, ignore Biden’s mask mandate on a commercial flight.

  2. So SW, grow some cojones and deny him boarding or kick him off.

    Do what you’d do to anyone else and quit pandering to the DYKWIA types, whether him or Kerry.

  3. Yep those congressional “R’s” consider themselves privileged and above the law. But what else is knew.

  4. Both Kerry and Roy should be banned from flight for life. Political affiliation doesn’t matter.

  5. @MIAZiggy Of course you only point out the Rs meanwhile completely ignore John Kerry. Having the urge to bring up politics on a travel blog lol. You make the rest of us Democrats look bad

  6. Good for him. Civil disobedience is our duty. Slavery and prohibition of alcohol were the leftist government law once upon a time. I hope no one suggests those who did not obey those laws should have. Conservatives need to be educated properly that George Washington went to war against cops and redcoats to fight for things like free speech/economic freedom/gun rights/religious freedom for white colonists. George Washington didn’t say we must follow King George’s Law and Order. If leftist laws violate fundamental freedoms (from speech laws to drug laws to mask laws), conservatives should not support their enforcement. Strongly worded letters are not what’s needed: action is. There are enough conservatives in the country to guarantee not a single leftist law could be enforced if conservatives leaders actually led and told us not to obey tyranny.

    Keep this in mind for Independence Day.

  7. Thanks for sharing a pic of multimillionaire Democrat John Kerry along with this Republican doofus.

    Lord Kerry usually flies private or government, where there is no enforcement because the mask mandate only applies to commercial flights. It’s shocking to see him slumming in commercial.

  8. “He was not eating, nor drinking. He was simply flaunting Biden’s mandatory mask policy.” – Reporter McCabe, Twitter.

    Gary, my great thanks for appropriately using the correct term “flouting” in your post.

  9. Next you’ll be telling us that he voted to defund the police by voting against the stimulus package.

  10. Some people believe that the 2nd impeachment trial was improper because Trump was no longer in office. If so, then they would vote not guilty.

    I also believe masks are not very effective but I do not believe they are completely ineffective. I believe N95 masks are very effective. I also believe that there is sufficient prevalence of coronavirus in every state to justify mask wearing. The pandemic is not over yet. Lots of people are not vaccinated, roughly half. The party started way too early.

  11. @derek – I partially agree and partially disagree with you but I respect the hell out of you for stating your opinion as such rather than “fact”.

  12. When rules and laws are only enforced on the “little” people, it’s a farce. If powerful political types get away with breaking the same rules others get fined, banned, or jailed for, then our system of government is a farce. BTW, if you want to engage in civil disobedience, you have to be willing to accept the consequences (being handcuffed, jailed, fined, banned, etc.). This is from someone who has engaged in civll disobedient acts and accepted the consequences.

  13. I’ve been saying this all along. People who still wear masks indoors need to be arrested. People who still wear masks outside need to be executed. It’s not science!

  14. This time last year, American cities were burning, statues were being toppled, and crime spiked and hasn’t fallen back.
    While we all want everyone to just get along, worrying about mask mandates seems like the least of our worries given that Biden told us to expect that this summer will be violent.

  15. This is America. To each his own. That includes politicians. If youre vaccinated then dont worry about it.

  16. What I know of Roy I LIKE. He’s reminds me of Rand Paul. He’s smart and a FREE THINKER. He won’t kow-tow to the conventional wisdom. Sure, he might not make the best President, but he’s the kind of guy you want in a legislative body. He’s thinking outside the box.
    You criticize him for not wearing a mask on an airplane, even though you admit the mask mandate is stupid. This is like criticizing a black person for refusing to go to the back of the bus in 1960 because “those are the rules.” The rules are stupid. Masks do not work, especially on airplanes. We (everyone with a brain who’s actually studied the science and the data) knows this. Yet no one wants to “rock the boat.” Roy will rock the boat. We need more boat rockers. Our freedom depends on it.

  17. @ Tim Dunn — Yes, it is a shame that 6 years of Trump’s hate-filled, racist rhetoric has led to more l violence in America. Joe Biden has been President for 5 months.

  18. Gary: Writes article about republican congressman flaunting laws. Since its 2021, we have to awkwardly do the “both sides” thing and blame a democrat as well.

    Gary’s commenters: *reads article about republicans flaunting laws* takeaway: “I’m so mad at John Kerry!”

    The audience here is hilarious. How did you all become such sad weird cowards at once?

  19. @ Holy — So you seriously think people should be executed for wearing a mask outside? Think about what you are saying.

  20. Do not follow your most favorite person, do: 1) educate yourself 2) use that to form your own judgement

    if you wear mask & got sick, will lawmaker compensate you?
    there are more serious law-breaking than masks at the border

  21. Nothing but bad behavior and bad faith from these folks. I used to be in the center but I don’t even know where that is anymore.

    These guys are allegedly “pro business” except when it comes to wrecking the travel industry, in which I own a small business. The most important thing right now is for people to feel safe and confident in flying. Every time a stunt like this happens, one of my clients decides to defer travel–again.

    At some point, incompetent stupid politicians and a dysfunctional government *are* a tax. I don’t care what the tax rates are, I care how much money I can make and with this new “proud to be an insufferable jerk” brand of Republicans in government, that’s turning out to be less.

  22. It is a small gesture but I say good for him. Conservatives are going to stand up to the tyranny being forced upon us by the socialist left and Biden administration. Conservatives are not used to acting out in civil disobedience the way the left has been doing since at least the 1960s. We are going to have to learn.

  23. @Bob – such tyranny, with Covid relief payments, an amazing vaccination plan, a real infrastructure bill, great jobs report, and a return to near-normalcy save for occasional mask wearing. Yeah such horrible times. GTFOH.

  24. @UA-NYC relief payments that will have to be repaid by our grandchildren and often discourage personal responsibility. Teaching kids racism in public schools. Teaching kids to hate the U.S. Effort to legalize theft of elections so we become similar to some third world country where election integrity is a joke. Effort to pay off education loans to discourage personal responsibility, and penalize those who worked and paid off their debt or never took out debt for education. Failure by socialist mayors and governors to enforce law and order when BLM and others burn and riot. Revolving door justice. I remember when NYC was a cesspool and a person avoided Times Square due to the filth and crime because of failed leftist policy. Guiliani cleaned it up but the socialist are back in charge and history is repeating itself. List can go and on. Yeah, the country is in wonderful shape.
    By the way the vaccine was announced right after the election and was well down the road to mass delivery in December.
    Coastal idiot!

  25. @Bob
    Looks and sounds like you converted all of your masks to blindfolds.

  26. @Bob – yet you likely support the $1.5T that the former POTUS gave away to the uber-wealthy and corporations, which just went to share buy-backs. Quite a bit different vs. helping, you know, “real Americans” as the Right would say, and actually investing in infrastructure.

    And you’re just parroting the Faux News talking points about the 1619 project…maybe you should actually read up a bit on it and educate your Southern Alabama or North Dakotan ignorant self.

    Oh, and NYC is pretty effing amazing this summer! Feel free to not visit.

  27. No Need! I will do it for you. Just a moment though, my fishes are spanking me with tennis rackets and I need to finish.

  28. @ Holy I wholeheartedly agree. They should have executed people last year for not wearing a mask and this year for not taking the vaccine, then maybe we’d be in a much better situation now. At the very least, you wouldn’t have been alive to make your idiotic comment.

  29. @ Bob. Good post and reply. Give up on speaking any sense to UA-NYC and his sheep. He thinks anything other than NYC and the Democrats are a third world. He definitely needs to take a road trip through the “fly over” America.
    BTW, I just returned from a 3400 mile road trip. Happen to notice MANY Trump signs still posted . . . Biden signs, ZERO. I suspect many biden voters were ghost voters.

  30. Good for him! So many stupid people still wear masks now, even outdoors. Especially some Asian people. Ching Chong Ding Dong!

  31. @Holy People still wear masks because the vaccine is not 100% effective and there are enough “geniuses” who don’t believe in science, but believe injecting themselves with bleach is a cure for covid.

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