Citing "two senior agency officials and three TSA employee union officials", CNN claimed "hundreds" of TSA agents at four major USA airports participated in a "sick out", a retaliatory measure for being forced to work without pay.
Alleging "fake news" had "grossly misrepresented" the figures related to the air travel industry, Tyler Q. Houlton denied that it was creating a vulnerability and less workers strive to do more than usual. 'Overall, 99.8 percent waited less than 30 minutes'. Other workers were forced to cover the shifts by working extra hours.
A union official, however, said that while some employees are upset about the pay, officers have said they are calling in sick for more practical reasons.
The partial government shutdown and the impact of hundreds of thousands of federal employees not getting paid is taking a toll at Sea-Tac International Airport.
Trump was likely referring to Houlton's tweet from Friday, which said there is no impact from a "non-existent sick out".
"Please, everyone, have patience with the officers who came to work", a Delta Airlines employee pleaded with travelers surrounding her. "Please". And Bilello disputed reports that more than 150 TSA agents called out sick at JFK International Airport in NY. "That number will get worse as this drags on".
James Gregory, the deputy assistant administrator of public affairs for the TSA, said the agency is "not seeing any significant increases in average wait times or callouts".
"We don't get a head count of number of TSA workers on the job each day, but we have not seen longer lines that would be out of sync with where we are in the travel season", said MWAA spokesman Rob Yingling. As others continue to work without pay, more are calling in sick.
"Security effectiveness will not be compromised and performance standards will not change", he told the Times. "TSA is grateful to the agents who show up to work, remain focused on the mission and respectful to the traveling public as they continue the important work necessary to secure the nation's transportation systems".
Gov. Larry Hogan joined the governor of Virginia and the mayor of the District of Columbia in urging the president and Congress to end the shutdown. Democrats, empowered by a decisive victory in last year's midterm elections, have dismissed Trump's demands.
A federal official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told The New York Times the TSA call-outs appeared to be a coordinated protest against the shutdown.
Thomas' union represents some 55,000 TSA employees, who screen approximately 800 million fliers a year; he is based at JFK.