Small business owners face backlash over association with Trump

President Donald Trump signs an executive order on healthcare with Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. (behind Trump) at the White House on Oct. 12. Also at the ceremony was small business owner Dave Ratner (partially obscured second from left in green suit). Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI

Oct. 17 (UPI) — President Donald Trump has received credit for stimulating the U.S. economy since he took office, but some small business owners who’ve been linked to his policies have seen their revenues go in the opposite direction.

Dave Ratner, the owner of Dave’s Soda and Pet City stores in western Massachusetts, was invited to the White House last week by the National Retailers Association to attend a ceremony to ease rules on small businesses joining to buy health insurance through “association” plans.

Later in the day, the White House announced Trump would end subsidies to help Americans buy ACA coverage.

After Ratner’s appearance, people began posting angry messages on his Facebook page and began an online petition to boycott his businesses.

“I want to apologize. I am sorry​ went to the Whitehouse because I don’t want it to appear that I support Trump ripping apart ​O​bama C​are​. I do not.​​ I had NO idea Trump was adding all the awful changes to the executive order. ​ I NEVER WOULD HAVE ATTENDED IF I KNEW,” Ratner posted to his Facebook page.

“We’ve had some people screaming at our employees,” he told WBUR-TV. “‘How could your boss do this? What kind of person is he?'”

Ratner said he voted for Hillary Clinton.

“Why people are taking it out on me for going to Washington to do something that I thought was going to do good for millions of people, I just don’t get it,” he said.

Ratner, who’s operated his soda and pet supply business for 42 years, said he thought Trump’s order would allow more businesses like his to buy affordable and competitive health insurance.

“Petco, PetSmart, Costco — all these chains with a huge amount of employees, they go out and they bargain with the insurance companies,” Ratner said. “Dave, or the plumber, or the barbershop, goes out to try and get health insurance for their employees. We don’t have anywhere near the bargaining power. So we pay way more.”

Ratner’s business is not the only one that has faced backlash by supporting the president’s policies.

On Monday, Cup It Up American Grill closed in Tucson, Ariz., three days after two of its owners posted a statement online that advocated standing for the national anthem, repealing Obamacare — and opposing fake news and the concept of global warming.

The owners said their restaurant received harassing and threatening phone calls after the post. Several workers have also quit, said Julian Alarcon, an operating partner and restaurant chef who resigned. He had nothing to do with the social media post, which was ultimately deleted.

A website called lists companies that are Trump family businesses, that sell products from those companies or support the Trump administration’s policies.

Shannon Coulter’s started campaign in October after browsing Nordstrom’s website and seeing the store’s lineup of Ivanka Trump apparel and shoes. Days earlier, news had broken of an Access Hollywood audio recording on which Trump bragged about groping women without their consent. Her efforts to oppose Trump include a spreadsheet of businesses she wants to be boycotted, and the reasons.

“Something changed for me when the Trump tapes came out,” Coulter said in an interview with The Washington Post. “Those words were just ringing in my ears.”


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