Three top U.S. airline CEOs are urging President Trump to take action over Qatar’s violating trade agreements with the United States.
Three other CEOs responded with a letter claiming that Qatar’s actions are consistent with the president’s policy, but analysis shows that this letter was actually written by a senior policy official from the Obama administration.
Open Skies agreements are executive agreements, similar to treaties, between the United States and other nations regarding international air travel, designed to foster free-market competition and a level playing field for international flights. From trade, to commerce, to tourism, Open Skies requires each participating country to provide non-preferential access to their airspace, and requires airline companies to compete against each other to in terms of offerings, quality of service, and low prices, without government subsidies.
Breitbart News has previously reported on several Arab nations that were violating their Open Skies agreements with the United States, illegally subsidizing three Persian Gulf carriers. The Obama administration did nothing, and a group of NeverTrumpers tried to convince President Trump to do nothing as well.
President Trump’s team had other ideas. In January 2018, the Department of State announced a deal with Qatar to end violations involving Qatar Airways, and in May 2018, Secretary Mike Pompeo announced a deal with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) addressing the remaining airlines, Etihad Airways, and Emirates Airline. These were hailed as significant victories for American workers and the president’s America First agenda.
But it appears there may still be trouble with Qatar. And someone from the Obama administration has been implicated, apparently operating behind the scenes.
In late April of this year, the CEOs of all three of the top U.S. airline companies – American, Delta, and United – published an open letter to President Trump as an ad in the New York Times and New York Post, entitled, “President Trump: Please enforce our trade agreements to support U.S. airline workers.”
“Your administration was built on the enduring principle that the U.S. government will stand up for American workers against foreign governments that break their trade agreements with our country,” the letter begins. “The American people are grateful for that promise.”
“Today, American airline workers are counting on you to step up on their behalf,” it continues.
The letter recounts that the Trump administration reached an agreement with Qatar in January 2018 regarding that nation’s Open Skies violations, and that these three American carriers had hoped the 2018 agreement would hold the Gulf nation accountable for illegally subsidizing Qatar Airways.
Instead, “Qatar Airways is ignoring the 2018 agreement that your administration signed by using massive government subsidies to launch new routes to the United States through its stake in Air Italy.” The U.S. companies note that the Italian carrier was a struggling company until Qatar Airways pumps tens of millions into it, alleging that the Qataris are using that company as a proxy to circumvent the 2018 agreement.
“No rule-abiding business can compete with a massively subsidized airline that ignores economic realities and can wipe away losses with one infusion of government cash after another,” the letter concludes.
Then three other airline companies – FedEx, Jetblue, and Atlas Air – sent a letter defending Qatar to Pompeo and also Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. The April 16 letter pushes back against “false claims” and touts the need “to set the record straight.”
However, according to materials Breitbart News reviewed, it looks like someone forgot to remove the metadata from the document, showing who wrote the document. Because the metadata shows the letter sent by FedEx, JetBlue, and Atlas Air was actually written by Jenny Rosenberg.
Rosenberg is a lobbyist. But she formerly served as assistant administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and at another time served as acting assistant secretary for aviation and international affairs at the U.S. Department of Transportation – both stints during the Obama administration.
In other words, unless this document is a complete forgery or one of the CEOs’ personal secretaries happens to be named Jenny Rosenberg, an Obama White House political appointee is ghostwriting letters trying to persuade President Trump to ignore purported trade violations.
When the CEOs of American companies are asking the president to stand up for American companies against foreign interests who are undercutting American workers, someone who formerly held “senior executive positions” – that is how her company webpage biography puts it – to advance Barack Obama’s policy priorities is seeking to influence the President Trump’s White House, trying to persuade the current president that what is happening is consistent with his America First agenda, and that his Cabinet should ignore claims to the contrary.
Read the document here: OS.CEO_.Letter.Pompeo.Chao_ (1).
Ken Klukowski is senior legal analyst for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @kenklukowski.