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Pro-Trump supporters crash Obamacare rally in Syracuse

Tom Magnarelli
Pro-Trump chants briefly interrupted Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner at an anti-Trump protest on Tuesday.

Supporters of President Donald Trump crashed an Obamacare rally hosted by Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner on Tuesday. Protesters worried about losing the Affordable Care Act were met by some who are encouraged by Trump’s actions so far.

Lindsay Speer, of Syracuse, pays $375 a month for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. Without that benefit, Speer said her health insurance would cost more than $1,000 a month.   

“It’s frightening to think that I wouldn’t have healthcare again," Speer said. "I’ve been through that before, it’s a terrifying time because you don’t know what could happen."

Joshua King, of Syracuse, works on an HIV prevention campaign and said he has mixed feelings about the Affordable Care Act. He said new ideas can fix problems with the law but he does not want to see it eliminated.

"Pulling it back would be socially irresponsible," King said. "It would be inequitable. It would be further discriminatory to already marginalized and disenfranchised populations such as the black community, such as individuals with completely preventable diseases like HIV, to access and receive preventative care."  
Amid protester chants, Randy Potter of Syracuse, a pro-Trump supporter, said he does feel sorry for people afraid of losing their healthcare but he believes Obamacare has negatively changed the system.

“The problem is it’s like lifeboats on the Titanic," Potter said. "If you put too many people in that lifeboat the boat is going to sink.”

Potter said Miner should focus on the problems of Syracuse instead of these anti-Trump protests.

"The north side is a disaster, the potholes are worse, the infrastructure is worse, the water system is crumbling and yet she wants to bring more illegal aliens into Syracuse," Potter said. "It's a travesty."

Potter said the media is trying to delegitimize the president.

"We did not do this to Obama back in 2008 but they're doing it to us, it's categorically unfair," Potter said.

Potter and several others, including Onondaga County Republican Chairman Tom Dadey, came out to say they are happy with Trump’s decisions so far and think he is doing very well.

“Congress and the Senate and the president are working on fixing this healthcare mess that has been created over the last eight years in this country,” Dadey said.

Dadey suggested Miner focus on the crime, infrastructure and school problems of Syracuse, which Miner said she can do while also talking about these federal policy issues.

“If we have a country that doesn’t offer affordable healthcare, we’ll have more people living in poverty, more people who will use our emergency rooms as healthcare providers, we’ll have more people who will not start businesses,” Miner said.

And as freezing rain fell on the crowd, both sides vowed to return again.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.