AGAWAM (CBS/AP) — A western Massachusetts business owner photographed last week with President Donald Trump is facing heavy criticism.
Dave’s Soda and Pet City owner Dave Ratner was part of a group of retailers invited to the White House last Thursday.
Ratner said he was invited by the National Retail Federation and he was misinformed about the president’s intentions, in which President Trump signed an executive order authorizing changes to the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
Ratner can be seen smiling and clapping behind Trump in video and photos of the event.
Since then, the Springfield native has been denounced by customers on social media, with many saying they’ll no longer shop at his Agawam-based beverage and pet store. He also claims his employees have been threatened.
Ratner says he decided to attend the signing because Trump was restoring small businesses’ power to negotiate group insurance rates.
He says he’s “embarrassed” and wouldn’t have gone had he known Trump also would cut off federal payments to insurers with the controversial executive order.
“Had the White House said the executive order is going to rip apart Obamacare I wouldn’t have shown up,” he told WSHM-TV. “And I’m an idiot. I went to do this, which I thought was really good for my employees.”
Trump claims the health care system “will get better” with his action.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)