Lawler’s Letter Describing Protesters Was Full of Distortions – and a Lie

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Congressman Mike Lawler’s letter in last week’s Examiner is replete with several mischaracterizations, distortions and at least one big lie.

His letter concerns a demonstration protesting threatened cuts by his Republican Party to Medicare and Social Security that briefly took place outside his office in Rockland County a few weeks ago. The office is on the 11th floor of a privately owned building in Pearl River. I was there as one of the 17 peaceful demonstrators ranging in age from about 65 to 80 old.

Lawler’s letter claims that we were “so disruptive, that tenants on the 11th floor feared for their safety and called building security, who in turn called the Orangetown Police Department to escort the protesters out of the office building.”

I cannot characterize this as anything other than a lie. I was there the entire time (Lawler and staff, by his own admission, were never there); we never entered the building (except a few of us, one at a time, to use the lobby bathroom). The police never entered the building. None of us were EVER escorted out of the building! Lawler’s recounting is a fabrication. I was standing and speaking much of the time with the only two police officers present.

The police officers were very courteous, and when asked what brought them there, they explained they were there for, “public safety…I believe we got a call from the building management,” one said to me.

But in his letter, Lawler says that “these protesters are claiming my office called the police on them and prevented them from entering my office.” I know of no one who claims that. The police NEVER prevented us from entering the building; it was the building manager who prevented our group from entering the building. We wanted to deliver a petition to Lawler’s office, which contained hundreds of signatures protesting the dismantling of Medicare and Social Security by the Republican Party. The doorman said it was his building management’s right to refuse us entry since it was private property. The police courteously explained that it was the prerogative of the property owner to refuse to allow anyone to enter the building.

The doorman offered to take our petition up to the 11th floor and slide it under Lawler’s office door and take a photo of the act. We gave him the petition and he did as promised, before coming back down to show us a photo that he took on his cell phone of himself sliding the petition under Lawler’s office door. Lawler’s claim is outrageous.

­­­­­­­­Lawler complained that the protest was not a “spur-of-the-moment protest organized organically by local activists.” I’ve been to dozens of demonstrations in the last 50 years. None were ever spur of the moment; all were planned. He resents that the protest was called by MoveOn.org, a national organization comprised of local members like me. Everyone at the demonstration was from Lawler’s district. Lawler complained of a concerted campaign. Yes, many of us are afraid of losing our Social Security and Medicare. Yes, a concerted campaign is what it will take to stop Republicans from dismantling those programs.

Meanwhile, if the MAGA heads in his party weren’t so destructive, people might not be so fearful. It’s Mike Lawler’s party that’s frightening, and threatening working and retired people.

Lawler wants us to believe that he’s reasonable and wants common-sense solutions. He should prove it. He plays footsie with Speaker McCarthy who plays footsies with the extreme right wing. His party has gone off the rails. If Mike Lawler doesn’t want people protesting at his office, then he has to push back against the extremists in his party, not caucus with them, while supporting the needs of his constituents. He must prove it with his votes in Congress, not with theater and not with fiction.

Nicholas Kuvach
Putnam Valley

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