Denver7’s Oscar Contreras reporting from the Western Conservative Summit in Denver this weekend, where disability-rights activists from the group ADAPT continued their highly visible bedevilment of Sen. Cory Gardner over the GOP’s continuing attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act:
At least two people were escorted out Friday evening as Sen. Cory Gardner gave a speech to a packed house of high-profile Republicans on the first day of the Western Conservative Summit in downtown Denver.
The removal of the protesters happened roughly 20 minutes after Gardner took the stage at the Colorado Convention Center.
“No cuts to Medicaid, save our liberty!” chanted protesters as they interrupted Gardner during his speech.
The protesters were detained, escorted out and later released, according to a Denver Police Department spokesperson.
Denverite’s Erica Meltzer:
This is the same group and many of the same individuals who spent 58 hours in Gardner’s office in late June in an effort to secure a “no” vote on Republican health care efforts from Colorado’s Republican senator. They fear that cuts to Medicaid will endanger the community- and home-based services that allow them to live independent lives…
The activists all wore tags that showed they paid to get into the summit. A day pass costs $120.
The dogging of Cory Gardner by this determined group of activists, whose own disabilities and resultant knowledge of the health care system put them in a unique position to call out harm that would be done under bills that have introduced to repeal Obamacare, has created a liability outside Gardner’s control. Where Gardner could dismiss the large gatherings outside his office since Donald Trump took office as “paid protesters,” the ADAPT activists cannot be pigeonholed. Their concerns with the Republican agenda on health care are based on their own personal experience as long-term care patients. No one is paying them to express their concerns, because for them it is in the most literal sense possible a life-or-death question. That is why the national media found their occupation of Gardner’s offices last month so captivating.
Certainly all the public protest taking place right now matters, but these particular ADAPT disability-rights activists are taking the fight to the notoriously image-sensitive Sen. Gardner in ways that are doing critical damage–to Gardner’s image, as well as hurting support for Republican attempts to repeal Obamacare. Quite simply, they’re the most effective protesters in America today any way you measure it.
And in a nation awash in the biggest protests since the Vietnam War, that’s one hell of an accomplishment.