Delta CEO: 'We are not taking sides' on guns

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A Delta Air Lines jet sits at a gate at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta in 2016.

Delta had sold just 13 tickets under the discount program with the NRA, he said.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Gov. A Georgia Senate committee voted to remove a jet fuel tax exemption that benefitted Delta.

"We are in the process of a review to end group discounts for any group of a politically divisive nature", Bastian said.

Bastian acknowledged the backlash against the Atlanta-based company from Georgia lawmakers, who on Thursday denied the company a tax break on jet fuel after its break with the NRA. "That is not the case", the airline said, adding that the decision was made to "remain neutral" and remove itself from the "debate" on gun control.

Cagle called Delta a "beloved bedrock" of Georgia's economy in an opinion piece published Friday by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

"I'm exhausted of conservatives being kicked around on our values and it's time that we stand up and fight and show corporations that conservative values are important", Cagle said Monday afternoon. Now, Bastian said, it will drop them.

Amazon didn't immediately respond to an email seeking comment. "Corporations can not attack conservatives and expect us not to fight back", he posted on social media. "Because that flies in the face of conservative values that we believe in". And we've stayed strong.

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But the legislative punishment, which was estimated to save Delta and other airlines $38 million, failed to persuade the company to change its position.

Cagle took a softer tone in celebrating victory Thursday.

Bastian said he has great respect and admiration for Deal, who had worked to include the tax provision before it was removed.

Cagle is a front-runner in his race to be Georgia's next Governor.

"I think what Georgia did was a knee jerk decision to score political points", said State Rep. Brandon Whipple, D-Wichita. The company said it has never donated to the NRA. "The jobs thing now is pushed to the back".

Delta is unlikely to move its headquarters after the Georgia legislature ended a fuel tax exemption that will cost the airline $40 million. Deal signed the bill Friday. He vowed to keep pursuing the jet fuel exemption as a separate issue. "I'm just saying that, obviously, if Delta wanted to weigh in, after they already negotiated the benefit for the convention of NRA, which they did, after a national boycott, I find that wrong".

"I had some discussions with several Democrats and they said, well, 'What if Delta chooses a group I'm affiliated with next time to not give the discount to?' And they agreed that it was discrimination no matter how it was spun", Kirk explained.

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