Last week U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal engaged in a heated Twitter exchange with Donald Trump regarding a special prosecutor’s probe of the Trump campaign’s complicity with Russia. On Monday Blumenthal took a subtle dig at Trump declaring German aviation innovator Gustave Whitehead–who some historians argue flew before the Wright brothers–embodies the spirit of immigration. He joined area officials to honor the 116th anniversary of Whitehead’s “First in Flight.” Whitehead resided in the West End and made several flights in the area, the first, witnessed by a Bridgeport Herald reporter, came August 14, 1901, two years before the Wright Brothers. For additional background on Whitehead see here.
Blumenthal was joined by Mayor Joe Ganim, State Senator Tony Hwang, Fairfield First Selectman Mike Tetreau and family members of Whitehead to honor his accomplishments. Also in attendance was Fairfield resident Andy Kosch who built and made airborne a life-sized replica of Whitehead’s plane.
Blumenthal couched his remarks, see video above, “I don’t want to get too political” and then segued into praise of immigrant contributions such as the aerospace industry that’s a jobs foundation for Connecticut. Trump’s immigration policies have coughed up a firestorm of protests across the country with multiple federal lawsuits. “What really made America great,” said Blumenthal were innovators such as Whitehead.
In 2012, then Mayor Bill Finch paid tribute to Whitehead at the corner of State Street, Commerce Drive and Fairfield Avenue with the “First in Flight–Gustave Whitehead” fountain.