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Cory Gardner Embraces Trump in Republican Primary Campaign Ad

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) wanted to make it absolutely clear to his fellow Republicans at their virtual state assembly on Saturday that he stands firmly with President Trump. In place of a standard candidate speech, Gardner’s campaign played a video montage of Trump praising Gardner as the two men shared the stage in February at the Trump campaign rally held in Colorado Springs.

President Trump: I want to bring up a man who’s going to win the election with us and really he has been- he’s been so rock solid. You know there were stories, will he…? Because we’re doing great in the state. We’re doing great. We fight together. And he’s been so great. Cory Gardner, please come on up, please.

Sen. Cory Gardner: Look at this enormous crowd! I can’t help but think about the enormous accomplishments we’ve had together over the past several years for this great state. The results are simply astounding because I believe in Colorado. I believe in America. I believe in the power of this great nation. And I believe in all of you. And I just have one message for all of you and to our friends and allies around the globe. When it comes to America, you ain’t seen nothing yet. God bless you. Let’s win in November!

Careful listeners will note that Trump starts and then stops a thought- “He’s been so rock solid. You know there were stories- will he…?” Although one can never be sure what the President was alluding to at that moment, it’s a reasonable guess that he was referring to Gardner’s support of President Trump, especially during the impeachment trial.

Both the President and Sen. Gardner took criticism for Trump’s most recent act of appreciation for Sen. Gardner, when he announced via Twitter that he was awarding Colorado 100 ventilators “at the request of Senator Gardner!” Gardner then went on Fox News to thank Trump for the shipment.

Gardner’s first words in the video are “Look at this enormous crowd!” Along with Denver Nuggets basketball games at the Pepsi Center, Trump’s rally was among the last large events in Colorado. The rally took place at the Broadmoor Arena in Colorado Springs, which has a capacity of 9,000. The Denver Post estimated as many as 20,000 people attended the event on February 20, with those who couldn’t get inside filling the parking lots. Three weeks later, Governor Polis announced a statewide ban on public gatherings of more than 250 people.

The full video of the GOP state assembly is available on the party’s Facebook page, with Gardner’s segment beginning at 1:12:35. There you can also see a brief speech from Gardner’s primary challenger Margot Dupré. Dupré is a real estate agent from Colorado Springs who launched her longshot challenge to Gardner because she believes there is too much corruption in the federal government.

Cory Gardner Sipping $1,000 Champagne as COVID-19 Hit U.S.

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-BLING)

We noted last month on The Get More Smarter Podcast that Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) was identified as a high-profile attendee of a lavish champagne-tasting party in Palm Beach, Florida. Today, Justin Wingerter of The Denver Post catches up on this story and a related ethics complaint that looks really, really, REALLY bad for Gardner:

On a late February night in Palm Beach, a mansion owned by billionaire art collectors was teeming with activity. Pianist Chloe Flower played Chopin, a four-course meal was served and, most importantly for the hosts, $1,000 bottles of some of the world’s best champagne were poured.

Seated somewhere near the middle of this “by-invitation bacchanal,” in the words of one attendee, was U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, according to news reports, an Instagram video and a promotional photo of the party…

State Rep. Tom Sullivan, a Centennial Democrat and outspoken critic of Gardner, says Gardner’s appearance at the champagne party is an ethics violation. Sullivan claimed in a complaint to the Senate Ethics Committee this week that Gardner violated a ban on gifts of more than $50, as well as a ban on gifts from companies that hire lobbyists.

Gardner’s campaign says he didn’t take a gift from Krug Champagne or anyone else on that February night. The campaign says it fully paid for Gardner’s evening when, weeks later, it sent $350 from a campaign account to LaForce, a New York City public relations firm that represents Krug. LaForce did not respond to a request for confirmation that the check covered the cost of Gardner’s night. [Pols emphasis]

Gah!!!

This would be a bad look for any politician, ever, but the context of the Palm Beach event makes it look even worse for Gardner. And that’s not just because Gardner’s campaign paid $350 for him to be there.

Earlier that week, the first coronavirus case of unknown origin appeared in California. Gardner was well aware of the coronavirus problem by that point anyway. A few weeks later, in fact, Gardner voluntarily self-quarantined himself in Washington D.C. after getting word that he came in contact with an infected person.

The champagne event appears to have taken place on Saturday, Feb. 29, which was the same day that Gardner Tweeted being in Colorado Springs for a funeral; we don’t doubt that Gardner was really in Colorado Springs that day, but he would have had to hustle to make it to the airport for a long flight to Palm Beach to arrive in time for the first flute of bubbly. It’s not like Gardner just happened to be in Florida at the time.

See if you can spot Sen. Cory Gardner in this photo.

 

It’s also important to note that this Palm Beach event was not a fundraiser or charitable event of any kind. This was rich people getting together to drink expensive champagne…and that’s pretty much it. So why would Gardner go through so much trouble to attend this soiree? We’re guessing it was to ply said rich people for campaign donations. Again, from The Denver Post:

The Krug Champagne event was held at the mansion of two wealthy Gardner donors, John and Amy Phelan. Both contributed the maximum amount allowed under law to Gardner’s 2014 Senate campaign. The Phelans are part-time Colorado residents and prominent figures in the Aspen arts scene…

An Instagram video of the event, posted to the pianist’s account and cited in the ethics complaint, appears to show Gardner seated near the center of a long table, watching intently in a dark suit. A promotional photo released by Krug also shows Gardner near the center of the table, seated across from Amy Phelan and Steve Wynn, a billionaire casino magnate and GOP mega-donor who resigned from his role with the Republican National Committee due to sexual misconduct allegations.

Headline from “Town & Country” magazine story

Here’s the blurb from a March 1 “Town & Country” article that betrays Gardner’s appearance and the absurd opulence of the event (you can also read about the party in something called “Cool Hunting“):

Notable guests included Steve and Andrea Wynn, Pepe and Lourdes Fanjul, Republican Colorado Senator Cory Gardner, [Pols emphasis] Jim and Cherie Flores, Karin Luter (the evening’s co-host), Earle and Carol Mack and Jeff Markus.

Of course the real stars of the night were the Champagnes on offer, ranging from Krug Grande Cuvée 161st Edition, served with canapés at the beginning of the evening, on the terrace overlooking the sparkling waters of Palm Beach, to the coveted Krug Clos du Mesnil 2004 poured at the beginning of dinner and considered by many experts to be the best of all Champagnes.

Canapés on a terrace overlooking the sparkling waters of Palm Beach, Florida. Cory Gardner is just like you!

Whether or not the ethics complaint goes anywhere in this case is almost beside the point. The television ads write themselves.

 

Just like your backyard parties, right?

Cory Gardner: COVID Tests With Every Big Gulp!

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

Conservative sort-of news outlet Washington Times put up a story yesterday after interviewing Sen. Cory Gardner on the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re obliged to use the word “interview” loosely in this case, since it’s tough to call this anything close to incisive or informative.

In fact, it almost seems like it was written on another planet:

Sen. Cory Gardner, Colorado Republican, on Thursday said in an ideal world, a reopening of the country would be accompanied by coronavirus testing that’s so prevalent people can grab one at a 7-Eleven store or in a first-aid kit at an office.

“Testing absolutely is key here,” Mr. Gardner said on “Fox & Friends.” “I’d like to see testing so ubiquitous going forward that you can go buy your Big Gulp at 7-Eleven, and you can get your COVID-19 test at the same time.” [Pols emphasis]

“That every business has in their first-aid kit a COVID-19 test so if they have an employee who has a sore throat, they’re able to go get that … within a matter of minutes, they get results,” he said…

COVID-19 tests at 7-Eleven! Get one with your Big Gulp! Honestly, who on earth would oppose this? It’s a captivating notion, and sure–that would go a long way toward helping reopen the country.

The problem, of course, is that there is no plan in place by the federal government or anywhere else we know of to provide COVID-19 tests at 7-Eleven, or anything like that level of ubiquity. There’s a growing recognition here in Colorado and across the nation that a lack of testing availability on the scale needed to control the spread of the pandemic on an individual level–which is crucial to safely reopening the economy–simply does not exist.

It seems outlandish until you realize that this is part of a pattern for Cory Gardner on a range of issues from health care to immigration: rhetoric that nobody can really disagree with, but which has no factual relationship to what’s actually happening on the issue. Gardner wanted “better health care” than the Affordable Care Act, but never came up with a plan other than just repealing the ACA. Gardner wanted immigration reform, except when an actual bill was on the table.

In a crisis like the present, Gardner’s reality-disconnected freewheeling rhetoric does real harm by creating an unrealistic expectation of imminent progress. That’s not much different from promising the voters to “repeal and replace” Obamacare over the course of numerous election cycles and never delivering either–but it seems worse to be doing this now.

At long last, can Cory Gardner not just be honest?

Hickenlooper Raises $4.1M; Gardner $2.5M; Romanoff $420k

Former Gov. John Hickenlooper owns the Q1 fundraising period.

Former Gov. John Hickenlooper may have set a new fundraising record for a Democratic U.S. Senate candidate in Colorado with $4.1 million raised in Q1 — besting the $4 million quarter posted by former Sen. Mark Udall in Q3 2014. Hickenlooper also outraised incumbent Republican Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) by about 65%.

Hickenlooper’s big Q1 is significantly better than the $2.8 million he raised in Q4 2019, which is all the more impressive considering that in-person fundraisers weren’t really possible in the month of March because of coronavirus.

Gardner’s campaign, meanwhile, reporting raising less than $2.5 million in Q1. It’s worth repeating that Hickenlooper crushed Gardner’s fundraising number despite the coronavirus quarantine and Gardner’s incumbent status (and Gardner’s in-person fundraiser with President Trump). Gardner’s campaign still has nearly $10 million in the bank, but Hickenlooper has essentially gotten halfway to that number in less than 8 months.

As for Democrat Andrew Romanoff, he continues to struggle on the fundraising front. Romanoff raised about $420k in Q1 — about one-tenth of Hickenlooper’s total — leaving his campaign with roughly $805k in the bank (Hickenlooper has about $4.9 million cash on hand). If you’re looking for a silver lining for the former House Speaker, his campaign at least spent less money than it raised this quarter (which was not the case in Q4 2019). As we wrote in this space last October regarding the Democratic field of candidates, there’s Hickenlooper…and then there’s everyone else.

Totally Predictable Gardner Damage Control Falls Flat

President Donald Trump, Sen. Cory Gardner.

As the Denver Post’s Justin Wingerter reports–it would appear somebody has come to the conclusion that last week’s public relations debacle for Sen. Cory Gardner, who tried to turn the negative story of an order by the state of Colorado for 500 ventilator machines snatched up by the federal government into a positive via a “personal request” to President Donald Trump for a mere 100 ventilators, went as badly politically for Gardner as we thought! Damage control efforts are now urgently underway:

It was Polis who, on April 4, told CNN that FEMA swooped in and purchased ventilators Colorado was on track to acquire. [FEMA Region 8 Administrator Lee] DePalo said he wasn’t involved in that procurement but believes it was likely a misunderstanding on Polis’ end.

“In some cases, it can just be a lack of understanding of what happened. I wasn’t on the call for the 500 (ventilators), so I can’t speak specifically to what was said on that call, but I do know we’re not out there taking that stuff,” dePalo said.

It’s a disappointing interview from a federal official we’d normally have no reason to second-guess–FEMA Administrator Lee DePalo says he “wasn’t involved” with the 500 ventilators Colorado tried to order and was prevented from acquiring, which seems very odd given his position, but apparently he can offer us the blanket assurance that the Trump administration is not just “out there taking that stuff.”

The problem is, there are news reports all over the country that say the Trump administration is indeed “out there taking that stuff.” As the Los Angeles Times reported last week:

Although President Trump has directed states and hospitals to secure what supplies they can, the federal government is quietly seizing orders, leaving medical providers across the country in the dark about where the material is going and how they can get what they need to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

Hospital and clinic officials in seven states described the seizures in interviews over the past week. [Pols emphasis] The Federal Emergency Management Agency is not publicly reporting the acquisitions, despite the outlay of millions of dollars of taxpayer money, nor has the administration detailed how it decides which supplies to seize and where to reroute them.

And the New York Times on April 6th:

In Massachusetts, state leaders said they had confirmed a vast order of personal protective equipment for their health workers; then the Trump administration took control of the shipments.

In Kentucky, the head of a hospital system told members of Congress that his broker had pulled out of an agreement to deliver four shipments of desperately needed medical gear after the supplies were commandeered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency…

Although local reporters frequently seem to treat the news in Colorado as though it occurs in a vacuum, the reality is there are multiple news reports that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is appropriating medical supplies that local medical and government officials believe, for whatever reason, are supposed to be headed to them. There appear to be differing excuses from the federal government for this conflict, and everyone knows that at the end of the day the federal government has the power to bigfoot smaller governments and the private sector out of the way.

But President Trump told states like ours to fend for ourselves in acquiring needed equipment to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Colorado’s 500 400 commandeered ventilators is not a unique case. And now we’ve seen clear evidence that the federal government is redistributing these supplies based on Republican political priority, not medical necessity. Sen. Cory Gardner’s overpackaged rollout of the “news” of 100 ventilators with a Trump Tweet and Fox News appearance make it obvious what’s motivating these decisions–and that’s before you read about Martha McSally playing the exact same game in Arizona.

What we see in the available poll numbers, from Gardner’s dismal in-state approval before the crisis to Gov. Jared Polis’ 75% approval of his handling of the emergency, is that the voters of Colorado are much smarter than most Republicans give them credit for.

Which doesn’t bode well for this or any other belated CYA.

Trump, Gardner Eviscerated Over Failed Ventilator Scam

Yesterday, Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado in concert with America’s Twitterer-in-chief rolled out a multimedia PR package “celebrating” the delivery due to a personal request from Gardner to Donald Trump of 100 new ventilator machines to our state from the Strategic National Stockpile. This rollout included a Tweet to the President’s tens of millions of followers, supporting cover from local Republican mouthpieces, and even an appearance on Fox News by Gardner to take credit for Trump’s “largesse.”

But by the end of the day, this rosy picture was very far from the prevalent narrative of the day’s events, and Sen. Gardner found himself facing one of the worst public relations debacles of his career–once again created for him by the President Gardner is most famous for servilely defending ever since Trump’s improbable 2016 election. Because the 100 ventilators Gardner and Trump were so excited to announce to Colorado constituted just 20% of the number federal officials had bought out from under Colorado a few days earlier.

Sen. Gardner made no acknowledgement of the co-opting of 500 ventilators sought by the state of Colorado just days before Trump did Gardner the “personal favor” of sending us 100 ventilators during his Fox News appearance yesterday, or in a telephone town hall the day before when he was specifically questioned about the situation. Gardner’s crass “celebration” of what amounts to an adverse development in Colorado’s fright against the COVID-19 pandemic, with no acknowledgement of the facts that completely change the nature of the story…

Starting with the Denver Post’s editorial board today, it’s clear this did not work out.

President Donald Trump is treating life-saving medical equipment as emoluments he can dole out as favors to loyalists. It’s the worst imaginable form of corruption — playing political games with lives. For the good of this nation during what should be a time of unity, he must stop…

Trump had only days before prevented Colorado Gov. Jared Polis from securing 500 ventilators from a private company, instead, taking the ventilators for the federal government. Polis sent a formal letter pleading for medical equipment, but the president took the time to make clear he was responding to a request from Gardner. We are left to believe that if Colorado didn’t have a Republican senator in office, our state would not be getting these 100 ventilators. How many ventilators would we be getting if we had a Republican governor and a second Republican senator? [Pols emphasis] Would that indicate we had more Republican lives in our state worth saving for Trump and resources would start flowing? Should Utah be concerned that Sen. Mitt Romney voted to remove the president from office?

This behavior comes, of course, weeks after Trump informed states they would have to compete against one another in the procurement of medical supplies at a time of global shortages due to the coronavirus pandemic.

9NEWS’ Kyle Clark welcomed the 100 ventilators, but absolutely shredded the “laughably clumsy politics” behind Gardner’s attempt to shine Trump’s turd:

Even Colorado’s senior Sen. Michael Bennet who has been very reticent out of a sense of same-state collegiality to directly criticize Gardner’s endless fealty to Trump, couldn’t defend this one:

Rep. Diana DeGette of Denver was quite a bit more direct, as CBS4 Denver reports:

“I think this thing that happened with Sen. Gardner and President Trump is very disturbing,” DeGette told CNN Wednesday evening. “What is the process here?”

DeGette said that while she wants the state to get every ventilator it can — after initially requesting 10,000 — the process employed by the White House shows that the president appears to be doling out the ventilators to his allies at a time when the virus is affecting people of all political persuasions.

“It seems that way to me,” DeGette said when asked if it appeared to be a political favor to Gardner. “I was totally outraged.” [Pols emphasis]

In hindsight, Gardner’s attempt to deceive not just Coloradans but the much larger conservative audience at Fox News into thinking that Trump somehow did Colorado a favor, when in fact much more harm than good was done in the full context, backfired spectacularly–with more coverage given to the original co-opting of 500 ventilators than the limited coverage that story received when it happened. Reporters were obliged to give the proper context that Trump and Gardner omitted, and it completely changed the story. Trump became the villain, not Colorado’s savior, and Gardner became a willing agent in a brazen deception of the people of his own state.

Every Colorado voter who understands this is going to be horrified. It is going to change votes.

And it was completely avoidable. Gardner didn’t have to do this. He thought it would work.

UPDATE: Demand Cory Gardner stop lying to protect Donald Trump

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On Monday, we asked you to call Sen. Cory Gardner’s Washington, D.C. office and tell him to investigate the alleged co-opting of 500 ventilators the state of Colorado tried to buy to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by the federal government–this after President Trump himself told states to find what we needed ourselves. [1]

Today, Cory Gardner let Colorado down–again. In an interview on Fox News this morning, Sen. Gardner celebrated the news that his personal request to Trump for 100 ventilators, only 20% of what Colorado tried to buy last weekend and only 1% of what Colorado has requested from the federal government, has been granted. Gardner never even mentioned that the state’s attempted purchase of five times the number of ventilators just days ago was co-opted out from under Colorado by the same Trump administration. [2]

Even now, in the middle of this terrible pandemic, Cory Gardner is shamelessly placing his political career before the health and safety of Coloradans. While the Trump administration swindles Colorado out of hundreds of desperately needed ventilators, Cory Gardner wants you to believe he’s doing us a favor. It’s outrageous and appalling.

Call Sen. Gardner at (202) 224-5941 and demand he recover the other 400 ventilators Colorado ordered immediately–and then apologize for insulting the intelligence of every Colorado voter by suggesting we be thankful for a small fraction of what the federal government co-opted out from under our state just a few days ago.

And above all, never forget this sad betrayal. Especially not in November. Colorado deserves better than Cory Gardner.


Original message:

Action item #1: News reports this weekend indicate that a large order of ventilators desperately needed by Colorado hospitals was co-opted by federal officials–this after President Trump told states to find medical equipment ourselves instead of relying on the federal government. [1] Sen. Cory Gardner has tried to cover for the Trump administration’s failures with his own efforts to help, but it’s not enough. Call Sen. Gardner’s office right now at (202) 224-5941 and demand he investigate the Trump administration’s co-opting of ventilators meant for our state.

Three Cheers: Gardner Loses 400 Ventilators To Trump

UPDATE #2: In a clip sure to outrage anyone who knows the full context of the story, Sen. Cory Gardner went on Fox News this morning to celebrate the 100 ventilators he snagged as a personal favor from President Donald Trump–presumably out of the 500 the Trump administration bought out from under Colorado:

The closest Gardner comes to acknowledging the original sin of Trump’s swiping of 500 ventilators is to mention at about 1:30 that “The governor has been searching for ventilators. FEMA has been searching for ventilators.” Not a single word about how those two searches intersected, and Colorado lost. Without that part of the story, understanding that Colorado is getting back 20% of the ventilators they lost due to the federal government’s actions, this narrative is misleading in the extreme.

A textbook lie of omission, told on national television.

—–

UPDATE: 9NEWS’ Kyle Clark lays the smack down:

—–

President Trump and Cory Gardner in Colorado Springs (2/20/20)

The Denver Post reported over the weekend on an order of 500 ventilators sought by the state of Colorado to forestall a shortage of the devices in our state–an order that was co-opted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for federal use “out from under” Colorado, after President Donald Trump told states they should try to acquire medical equipment to respond to COVID-19 ourselves:

Colorado was making a deal with a manufacturer for an order of much-needed ventilators when the Federal Emergency Management Agency swooped in and took it themselves, Gov. Jared Polis told CNN on Friday night.

It was one thing for states to be competing among themselves for vital resources to fight the novel coronavirus, Polis said. Now they’re competing against the federal government, too.

“Either be in or out,” Polis told CNN’s Don Lemon. “Either you’re buying them and you’re providing them to states and you’re letting us know what we’re going to get and when we’re going to get them. Or you stay out, and let us buy them.”

Yesterday, Sen. Cory Gardner was asked during a telephone town hall about the federal government’s swiping of 500 Colorado-bound ventilators:

But today, as The Hill’s Justine Coleman reports:

President Trump on Wednesday announced that 100 ventilators will “immediately” be sent to Colorado after Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) made a request for the medical equipment.

In a response to Gardner’s tweet announcing the approval of National Guard assistance in the state, Trump posted, “Will be immediately sending 100 Ventilators to Colorado at the request of Senator Gardner!”

…The Colorado governor’s press secretary, Conor Cahill, said Tuesday that Polis had been notified Colorado’s orders for ventilators will not be granted in the coming weeks.

In a letter to Vice President Mike Pence last week, Gov. Jared Polis in fact requested a total of 10,000 ventilators, along with “associated equipment and pharmaceuticals” for their operation. That letter was sent several days before Gov. Polis went on CNN to expose that the federal government had bought an order of 500 machines out from under the state of Colorado.

But today, we’re supposed to celebrate the fact that the federal government will “generously” give us 1% of the ventilators we originally asked for, and one-fifth of what they bought out from under the state just last week? It’s preposterous, but that’s apparently what Gardner expects us to do. And given Trump’s well-publicized exercise of personal spite in the distribution of emergency equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic, if Gov. Polis complains about what amounts to an outrageous shell game being played with lifesaving medical equipment, we might not even get the 100 ventilators.

Folks, to say this is nothing to celebrate is an understatement.

Colorado just got historically ripped off–and Cory Gardner is telling us to like it.

Risky Business: Throwing Trump Under The Bus To Save Gardner?

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

From time to time over the years, we’ve had occasion to sit back and marvel that the outlandish editorial pronouncements of the devoutly conservative Phil Anschutz-owned Colorado Springs Gazette. From accusing Gov. Jared Polis of “ties to the Ku Klux Klan” for misplaced dramatic effect to their comically absurd hagiographical write-ups about 2018 GOP gubernatorial capital-L Loser Walker Stapleton, we’ve found pretty reliably that editor Wayne Laugesen’s reality-starved opinion pieces are best read with a laugh track playing in the background.

But in today’s Gazette, Laugesen looks to have outdone himself in the over-the-top propaganda department–and that, based on his long record of relentless Pravda-style pro-GOP hype, is no small statement. Had it come five days ago, we might honestly have dismissed this as an April Fool’s Day joke:

Long before Americans knew a global pandemic would disrupt and threaten their lives, Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner tried to warn Congress. Few cared to listen, distracted by shinier Washington drama… [Pols emphasis]

“The rapid spread of a respiratory pathogen is a serious concern given our global economy and citizenry, as well as our role as both travel destination and transit hub for the world,” Gardner wrote. He never heard back from Pompeo or Redfield.

Gardner’s warning came as Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and the CDC’s Redfield downplayed the coronavirus threat. The two highly competent men of science relied in good faith on bad information given to them by the Chinese government and the World Health Organization.

Phil Anschutz, owner of the Colorado Springs Gazette.

It’s true that Sen. Gardner, in his capacity as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Subcommittee On East Asia, The Pacific, And International Cybersecurity Policy, held a hearing back in January on the COVID-19 outbreak. But what’s missing from this narrative is even a peep of criticism from Gardner for these high-level Trump administration officials the Gazette would have us believe blew off Gardner’s supposed alarm bells stretching back to January. If Sen. Gardner was “prophetic” as we’re asked to believe in this editorial about the impending pandemic, why did Gardner host a rally with President Donald Trump attended by thousands of socially undistanced Republicans in Colorado Springs almost a month later?

And where has Gardner been all these months while Trump was telling people COVID-19 would “disappear?”

The whole premise of this editorial defense of Gardner is ridiculous enough that it collapses entirely after one or two basic questions. But for Sen. Cory Gardner, whose staff is eagerly distributing this editorial today via social media, the political danger here could be more significant than being made to look silly. Because in order to credibly give Gardner the kind of lavish praise the Gazette gives him for “warning the Washington establishment, even as the CDC director continued telling us not to worry,” it is necessary to acknowledge the Trump administration’s catastrophic failure to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s simply not possible to have this both ways.

Folks, President Trump doesn’t like it when his “loyal” Republicans go there.

This editorial might play in Colorado Springs, but Gardner had better hope Trump never sees it.

Gardner, Kushner To Maybe Have Words At Next Fundraiser

Tsarevitch Jared Kushner.

As Politico’s Burgess Everett reports, Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado is asking the Department of Health and Human Services for an investigation into the management of the Strategic National Stockpile as a shortage of crucial medical equipment like ventilators looms:

Sen. Cory Gardner is pushing for an investigation into possible mismanagement of the Strategic National Stockpile of ventilators needed to treat coronavirus patients — though the Colorado Republican is by no means going to war with the Trump administration over the matter. [Pols emphasis]

The GOP senator wrote a letter to the Health and Human Services inspector general on Thursday requesting a probe into reports of maintenance issues and delays regarding the distribution of ventilators from the national stockpile to states. And in an interview on Friday, Gardner said that “any kind of mismanagement or abuse needs to be rooted out and those responsible held accountable.”

President Trump and Cory Gardner in Colorado Springs (2/20/20)

Gardner’s request for a second look here is timely, after President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner made some controversial statements about the stockpile’s purpose, in response to angry governors including Gov. Jared Polis of Colorado who are begging for these supplies in their states:

Responding to criticism of the federal government from some governors, Jared Kushner, a senior White House aide and President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, said on Thursday that the federal stockpile of supplies is “supposed to be our stockpile” and that it’s “not supposed to be states’ stockpiles that they then use.”

Gardner said his letter is not a response to that comment, [Pols emphasis] which he learned of late Thursday, but he pointedly questioned Kushner’s statement in the interview.

“I don’t know what Kushner was talking about, what he meant. But the stockpile is for the country. And the country is made up of states in the federal government,” Gardner said.

No reasonable person is going to object to Sen. Gardner sending a letter about the Strategic National Stockpile, or complain when Gardner is able to prevail on his relationship with officials in Taiwan to arrange a shipment of personal protective equipment–a couple of days’ worth of which is reportedly headed to Colorado. But Gardner’s continuing refusal to hold the Trump administration responsible for the failure of the U.S. government to confront the pandemic over the course of months speaks louder than any of these belated gestures.

Once again, Gardner is–at best–trying to clean up a catastrophic mess while ignoring who made it.

Gardner Delivered ‘Historic Unemployment,’ says GOP Ad

(D’oh! — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Most politicians like to boast that they deliver jobs.

But if you believe an advertisement this week, the Colorado Republican Party thinks people will vote for U.S. Cory Gardner (R-CO) if they’re convinced he delivered “historic unemployment.”

The Colorado Republican Party did not return an email asking if the ad was supposed to state that Gardner delivered “historically low unemployment,” a claim that would be further from the truth but is closer to Gardner’s normal talking points, say progressive labor leaders.

The ad, which appeared in Colorado Politics, a weekly online and print publication, reads, “CORY GARDNER DELIVERED MORE AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE, HISTORIC UNEMPLOYMENT, PUBLIC LAND PROTECTION.”

Jared Wright, Publisher of Colorado Politics, said in an email to the Colorado Times Recorder that his publication was not responsible for the text of the advertisement.

“Wow – that sure is a typo,” Wright emailed after being alerted to the apparent error. “It was delivered to us by the advertiser that way. We did not perform the design. That said, I will let them know to send a new file. Thanks for catching that.”

Asked to comment on the GOP ad, Dennis Dougherty, director of the Colorado AFL-CIO, said, “Cory Gardner did deliver working Coloradans something: historically low pay.” The AFL-CIO gave Gardner a zero rating on key votes in 2018 in support of working families.

In fact, 44 percent of American workers barely earn enough to live on, according to a January Brookings report.

Cory Gardner Warns If GOP Loses Senate, Schumer Will Block Trump’s Judges

(Good to know, thanks – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Republicans must not only retain the White House this fall, they must also hold the U.S. Senate, says Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO). If they don’t do both, he warns, even if President Trump is reelected, Chuck Schumer won’t approve any of Trump’s judges: “he’ll block every single one of them.”

Gardner delivered his warning via live video to the Jefferson County Republican Assembly, which held its March 17 county assembly online using remote video chat:

“We know what the left wants to do! They want socialism. They want to destroy the fabric of who we are as a country. And that Supreme Court and our court system is that body that will say, no, you’ve gone too far. You can’t do that. You’ve stepped outside the bounds of the plain meaning of the text. And that’s exactly what we have to do with our judges. So not only do we need a president to make sure they’re selecting good constitutional based judges, but we have to have a United States Senate majority in order to confirm those judges. Because if we lose the majority and President Trump is still in the White House, Chuck Schumer is never going to approve any of his judges. He’ll block every single one of them. Colorado was ground zero. We know that Chuck Schumer thinks his path to becoming majority leader is by winning Colorado. We’re not going to let that happen.” — Sen. Cory Gardner to Jefferson County GOP, March 27, 2020 (at 10:45)

It’s unclear if Gardner is arguing that a hypothetical Senate Majority Leader Schumer would be wrong to block President Trump’s future judicial nominees, or whether he’s simply making a prediction of Schumer’s actions based on partisan assumptions.

What is clear, however, Gardner has steadfastly supported his own caucus leader Mitch McConnell’s strategy of blocking judges under Obama, but prioritizing the confirmation of Trump’s nominees over all other Senate business. McConnell bragged about his success on Fox News’, when host Sean Hannity noted —tongue firmly in cheek— that he was “shocked President Obama left so many vacancies and didn’t try to fill those positions.” McConnell responded bluntly:

“I’ll tell you why. I was in charge of what we did the last two years of the Obama administration.”

Gardner called for the Senate to refuse to confirm Obama’s choice to replace Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Merrick Garland, the same morning Obama announced Garland as the nominee. In explaining his decision not to meet with Garland, Gardner said the “stakes were too high and the American people deserve a role in this process.”

Two years later, however, he met with and voted to confirm Brett Kavanaugh despite another looming election (the 2018 midterms) which would determine control of the U.S. Senate.

Gardner Cheers Stimulus Funding He Once Admonished

Via The Denver Post (March 31, 2020)

Ten years ago, Cory Gardner was a state lawmaker challenging incumbent Democratic Rep. Betsy Markey in CO-4. Gardner’s first campaign for federal office was pretty simple: Bash Markey for supporting a nearly-$800 billion stimulus plan and for backing the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

One decade later, Gardner isn’t saying much about the ACA and has become a vocal cheerleader for a $2.2 TRILLION economic stimulus package — the largest spending bill in Congressional history.

As Justin Wingerter writes for The Denver Post, Gardner is running for re-election and hoping Colorado voters will overlook his glaring hypocrisy on these topics:

“We need to get this country moving again,” Gardner said.

That was the argument in 2008 and 2009, too. But economic stimulus bills were not bipartisan then, as they were this month. Instead, they gave rise to the Tea Party movement, its adherents convinced that government spending could soon send the nation over a fiscal cliff. Gardner was concerned about that, too.

“From town hall meetings to coffee shops to neighborhoods, all I hear are worries about too much spending and the growth of government,” he told The Denver Post in the fall of 2010.

Whoa! You actually listened to the words that came out of my mouth?

It’s hard to overstate how much Gardner relied on this anti-spending argument in his first congressional campaign in 2010. If Gardner were a toy doll with a pull-cord in his back, his catch phrase would have been obvious:

Jason Bane, a Democratic consultant, played Gardner in mock debates to help Markey prepare for the Yuma Republican, who at the time was a state legislator.

“If the question was, ‘What’s your favorite color?’ I’d say, ‘Well, look, Betsy Markey voted for the stimulus bill and you can’t spend your way out of a recession.’ That’s all he did. So that, in effect, is what I would do,” Bane recalls of the debate prep.

[Pols note: This is the same Jason Bane who founded ColoradoPols.com and continues to write words here].

Gardner argues now that a coronavirus recession is different than the 2008 recession, but his 2010 rhetoric doesn’t agree with his 2020 messaging.

“You can’t spend your way out of a recession” was among Gardner’s favorite lines in 2010. Does he now contend that you can spend your way out of a recession, or was that old phrase just a bunch of baloney? There may not be an actual answer to this question.

Cory Gardner says a lot of words about a lot of things, and none of them have any real meaning — which is exactly why his poll numbers are in the toilet among Democrats and Republicans alike.

About Cory Gardner’s “Sinister Chinese Propaganda Campaign”

Why is China unhappy, you ask?

Via the Colorado Springs Gazette’s daily blog on political updates regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re alerted that Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado is vexed, vexed mind you, about far-fetched suggestions by diplomats from the People’s Republic of China pinning responsibility for the outbreak on the United States:

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner and two fellow Republican members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Monday called on President Donald Trump to establish a task force to counter the Chinese Communist Party’s “malicious propaganda” about the origins of the novel coronavirus…

Gardner, joined by U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Mitt Romney of Utah, call it “critical that our country fight back against this propaganda” in the letter, which requests the Trump “formulate a coordinated, (U.S. government)-wide response” under the direction of the National Security Council.

From the letter:

Now that COVID-19 has spread rapidly around the globe, the CCP and its officials have the audacity to spread disingenuous claims that the United States is responsible for this pandemic. This is not simply dishonest, it is dangerous. This tactic, in addition to being a despicable exploitation of a global emergency, threatens to undermine the worldwide coordination necessary to combat this coronavirus. It is for this reason that we request an interagency taskforce within the NSC to counter the malicious propaganda coming from CCP apparatchiks.

No responsible Western observer would ever accuse the PRC of being realistic with their frequently bellicose propaganda and sometimes outlandish suggestions about American actions and intentions. The public statements of press briefing-level Chinese diplomats are probably one step above the North Korean media or “Baghdad Bob” level of credibility, apparently a bit more so if you’re affiliated in the National Basketball Association. But it’s not the sort of allegation we either take seriously or would expect to be taken as such in serious conversation.

But you know what would help Gardner credibly complain about discreditable allegations from China?

A single word of criticism for the President who won’t stop calling it the “Chinese Virus.”

Gardner also defended the president’s calling the new coronavirus the “Chinese virus.” [Pols emphasis]

“This virus did come from China. I think China did some horrible things when they lied about this happening…”

And with that, gentle readers, the diplomacy of outrage is back to square one.

Sorry Cory Gardner, That’s “The Story of Life”

Thursday, from his self-quarantined location in Washington after having come in contact with a COVID-19 patient from Colorado, Sen. Cory Gardner asked a question no doubt many other Americans have voiced in the past few days:

President Trump and Sen. Cory Gardner.

Indeed, there does appear to be a channel for obtaining coronavirus tests by the rich and powerful, naturally including sports celebrities, that ordinary Americans do not have. It’s hardly the first time the privilege of wealth in America has resulted in unequal access to a life-saving intervention, but it’s certainly upsetting to all of us who can’t reasonably expect to get a test even with all the symptoms.

The problem, as NBC News reported Wednesday, is that Cory Gardner appears to have asked this question the day after President Donald Trump answered it.

“How are nonsymptomatic professional athletes getting tests while others are waiting in line and can’t get them?” NBC News’ Peter Alexander asked Trump. “Do the well-connected go to the front of the line?”

“No, I wouldn’t say so,” the president said. “But perhaps that’s the story of life. [Pols emphasis] That does happen on occasion, and I’ve noticed where people have been tested fairly quickly.”

Trump’s “that’s the story of life” quote is included in the Washington Post story that Cory Gardner cited in his angry Tweet. Are we to take this to mean that Gardner is actually being critical of President Trump’s dismissal of the problem? This crucial detail, in what’s become a signature move for Gardner, is left unresolved. If Gardner is upset with Trump over blowing off this “class warfare” concern, he has an obligation to be specific on that point–lest the only thing anyone remembers about this kerfluffle is that Gardner has already endorsed Trump’s re-election.

We take Gardner at his word that he’s genuinely worried about what’s happening. We wish him good health.

But even now, Gardner seems unable or unwilling to acknowledge the politically inconvenient truth.

Enjoy That Nice Long Weekend, Cory Gardner?

UPDATE: Not confidence inspiring:

—–

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Cory Gardner.

The U.S. Senate is getting back to work today after adjourning for a long weekend of flying back to home states to…well, obviously not to practice good “social distancing,” which would have been better served by staying in their D.C. residences. Sen. Cory Gardner flew back to Colorado late last week, before an emergency coronavirus relief bill was passed by the House–crucial days wasted, says Rocky Mountain Values in a press release today:

On Saturday at 12:51 am ET, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, a critical package of legislation that will provide free testing, paid sick, family, and medical leave for workers, stronger unemployment benefits, food assistance for children and families, and enhanced Medicaid funding.

But rather than immediately pick up the bill and take action in the Senate, Mitch McConnell and Cory Gardner are waiting in silence — for days… [Pols emphasis]

“This is malpractice. Coloradans deserve to know where Cory is and why he isn’t doing his job to pass coronavirus legislation. Our hope is that this clock will remind Senator Gardner that time is precious during a crisis, and we can’t wait another day for him to take action.” -Marie Aberger, a spokesperson for Cut the Strings CO, a project of RMV

Visit wherescory.org and call on Senator Gardner to pass coronavirus legislation in the Senate TODAY.

The latest word we have is that the Senate GOP, back and rested up we hope, is going to get to work right after lunch–though there appears to be residual quibbling about provisions in the bill like paid sick leave, leaving plenty of room for the political uncertainly Americans can’t get enough of in time of crisis! This, in case you are unclear given the state of things, is sarcasm.

Whatever happens next, look for Sen. Gardner somewhere in the back.

What Happened to Cory Gardner’s “Conservation Roundtable” With President Trump?

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Last Thursday, while speaking with reporters at the White House, President Trump noted that his planned trip to Colorado on Friday with Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) was canceled. We now have a video clip of that statement: 

“I was going out to Nevada, as I said. I was going to Colorado, where we have Cory Gardner running and he’s doing a great job, by the way. He’s done a fantastic job, but we’ve postponed that. I think we’re gonna have Cory coming in here- maybe on Friday. We’re gonna do our event from the White House. We have a lot of things that we’re moving around because of what’s happening and because I want to be here.”

The only reported event on the President’s schedule was a high-dollar Denver fundraiser with Gardner. The possibility that Trump would hold the campaign fundraiser at the White House raised the eyebrows of numerous reporters, both nationally and locally.

The Gardner campaign, which has been notoriously reluctant to engage with the media, immediately released a statement. https://twitter.com/jmdobkin/status/1238149672016830465

No such non-campaign event had been previously announced. However, the $100,000 per couple fundraiser did include a “roundtable.”

It’s unclear if such a roundtable either took place already or is still in the planning stages. Neither Gardner’s office, nor his campaign have responded to inquires about the event. An email to the White House’s Office of Public Liaison was not immediately returned.

The Colorado Times Recorder has also reached out to two conservation organizations (Colorado Wildlife Fund and the Congressional Sportsmen Foundation), both cited by Gardner in a recent press release about securing funding for the Land & Water Conservation Fund. This article will be updated with any comments received.

More and more meetings and events are being canceled every day in response to the coronavirus pandemic. It’s certainly possible this roundtable has been postponed or canceled, but if that’s the case, no one is willing to say so.

Gardner Campaign Clarifies Trump’s Claim of Moving “Our Event” To White House

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner’s campaign appears to have been forced to do some rapid-response clean up in response to a statement by President Trump this morning about a Trump-Gardner fundraising event.

Following Wednesday’s news that Trump canceled his planned trip to Colorado to fundraise for Gardner, the Commander-in-Chief told a New York Times reporter that “our event” would instead be held at the White House.

The statement, which appeared to propose an event that would be a blatant violation of the Hatch Act (outlawing the use of government resources for political campaigns), drew considerable surprise from reporters in D.C. and Colorado.

Reached for comment by the Colorado Times Recorder immediately after the New York Times’ Annie Karni tweeted the President’s statement about the Gardner fundraiser, Katie Behnke, who’s listed as the RSVP contact on the original invitation, did not deny the reported statement, but rather declined to comment, saying only that she wasn’t authorized to speak about it and that a communications staffer would follow up with the Colorado Times Recorder. No such follow-up ever occurred.

But twenty minutes later, Gardner campaign spokesperson Jerrod Dobkin tweeted that the event was in fact a “conservation roundtable.” No conservation event had ever been announced to be taking place in Colorado prior to Dobkin’s tweet, despite Gardner issuing a statement to the press about funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund on Monday. https://twitter.com/jmdobkin/status/1238147084324188160

The fact that Dobkin, who works for the campaign rather than the senator’s official staff, was claiming that this until-now unknown LWCF event was “obviously not a fundraiser or campaign event,” was noted with skepticism by national press. https://twitter.com/AlexThomasDC/status/1238163292310458375

Dobkin’s statement led to a follow-up tweet from Karni: https://twitter.com/anniekarni/status/1238145828818243584

NRSC staff is now requesting the NYT reporter Karni delete her original tweet, something she has politely refused to do, noting that the “conservation event had never been announced. Trump’s lead-in to talk about hosting an event at the WH was, “We have Cory Gardner running…” https://twitter.com/anniekarni/status/1238151576088383489

Wait, What? Trump Holding Event for Gardner at White House?

UPDATE #6: The Colorado Times Recorder has the latest damage control report.

—–

UPDATE #5: And now they’re blaming reporters. The ONLY event that had been publicly announced for Friday was a fundraiser in Colorado for Cory Gardner. Why would a reporter assume there was something different?


—–

UPDATE #4: Cory Gardner’s campaign spokesperson is spinning furiously on Twitter:

What LWCF event? This has never been announced before. And why is Cory Gardner’s Senate campaign announcing an official White House event?

 

—–

UPDATE #3: Here’s Larry Ryckman, editor of The Colorado Sun:

—–

UPDATE #2: Here’s Denver Post reporter Justin Wingerter:

—–

UPDATE: More White House reporters scratching their heads:

—–

The White House announced on Wednesday that President Trump was cancelling a planned trip to Colorado for a Friday fundraiser to benefit the re-election campaign of Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma).

But as journalist Suzanne Lynch Tweeted out today:

First of all, Trump can’t host a fundraiser for a political campaign at the White House, so it’s not clear what this event might actually entail. Then again, we’re saying this under the assumption that President Trump pays any attention whatsoever to The Hatch Act.

We’re also a bit perplexed that anybody would want to go to the White House at the moment, given that President Trump has been exposed to the Coronavirus (or, potentially, has exposed others):

So many questions. We’ll update with answers when they become available.

As Coronavirus Spreads, Advocates Ask Cory Gardner to End His Crusade to Kill Obamacare

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

As coronavirus infections rise, supporters of Obamacare in Colorado are calling on politicians, like Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), to stop trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), pointing out that the current health care crisis highlights the benefits of the national health care law, like the fact that 400,000 people in Colorado have health insurance thanks to Obamacare.

Prior to the implementation of the ACA in Colorado, about 16 percent of residents lacked health insurance, a figure that’s dropped to about six percent today.

The threat of the coronavirus “underscores the need for everyone to have access to affordable health care and how we need to protect the systems that provide that — such as the ACA,” said Vanessa Harmoush, a spokesperson for Rocky Mountain Values, a progressive advocacy group, in a statement.

“Coloradans with ACA-compliant insurance will not be charged exorbitant fees for being tested for coronavirus, thanks to the ACA’s requirement that insurers cover preventative care,” said Harmoush.

Now is the time for Gardner to stop calling for the repeal of Obamacare and, instead, to help more people gain insurance under the ACA so they can receive preventative care and other treatment,” said Polly Baca, also with Rocky Mountain Values in a news release.

“We need Senator Gardner, who has voted seven times in his career to repeal our health care, to pledge to stop attacking the Affordable Care Act, especially during a national crisis like this,” said Baca.

An interactive tool released last week by the liberal group, Center for American Progress, shows the health benefits that would be lost in Colorado, if Obamacare were repealed.

The importance of these benefits in Colorado is even more clear in the midst of the current health care crisis, say advocates, who point to polls showing a high level of concern about the crisis and dissatisfaction with Trump’s response.

Gardner did not return a call seeking to know if he has new thoughts on Obamacare, in view of the potential pandemic, and on health care more broadly in light of the coronavirus, but opponents of the ACA have said the law has failed to contain health-insurance costs, requires too much government involvement, and can be replaced with a better program.

But Republicans were not only unable to repeal Obamacare in 2017 when they had the power in Washington to do so, but they have yet to put forward a plan that would contain costs better than Obamacare has, as well offer the ACA’s benefits such as requiring insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions, offer preventative care for free, and more.

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review a decision by a lower court that ruled in favor of Republican plaintiffs who alleged that the ACA is unconstitutional. That decision is on hold pending the Supreme Court decision. Gardner appears to back the lawsuit.

In interviews, Gardner has expressed concern about coronavirus and defended the Administration, but he hasn’t objected in recent years to budget cuts to the agency charged with preventing coronavirus-like outbreaks.

Trump Coming Back to Colorado to Raise Money for Gardner

UPDATE: Colorado GOP kingpin Larry Mizel invites you, provided you have the coin:

—–

Run it back!

As Ernest Luning reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman:

President Donald Trump will return to Colorado to attend a high-dollar fundraiser in the Denver area for U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner on March 13, Colorado Politics has learned.

It will be Trump’s second visit to the state in a month, following his appearance at a “Keep America Great” rally in Colorado Springs on Feb. 20…

…Gardner, considered the most vulnerable Republican senator on the ballot next year, stood by Trump at every turn during the recent impeachment proceedings, voting against calling additional witnesses in the Senate trial before voting to acquit Trump.

And, of course, no story featuring Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner would be complete without a line like this:

A spokeswoman for the Gardner campaign didn’t respond to a request for comment.

We’ll update when we get more information about whether this is a full-fledged fundraising event or one of those things were everybody has to go huddle inside an airplane hanger next to Air Force One.

In Election Year Shift, Cory Gardner Calls Himself a “National Leader” on Climate Change

(Cue laugh track – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

When Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner first ran for Senate in 2014, the phrase “climate change,” “global warming,” or other words describing the destruction of the Earth’s atmosphere, didn’t appear on his campaign website, except in a linked news release slamming his opponent for supporting Obama’s “Overreach on Climate.”

Gardner

But now, with pollsters saying Gardner can’t win November’s election without support from swing voters who want action on the climate crisis, Gardner has unveiled a new campaign website that claims he’s a “national leader” on “climate change policies that achieve results.”


“For more than a decade, Cory has been a national leader advocating for commonsense energy and climate change policies that achieve results,” states Gardner’s new campaign website. “…Cory rejects the false choice between addressing climate change and economic growth. Instead, his bipartisan approach aims to reduce emissions, combat climate change, and grow the economy,” states Gardner’s new website in the section titled, “Colorado’s Senator, Colorado’s Priorities.”

Gardner’s self-description as a “national leader” on climate change policies is leaving environmentalists in disbelief.

“Actions speak a whole lot louder than words, and Cory Gardner’s record shows he has done far more to harm the environment and contribute to climate change than help,” said Pete Maysmith, Senior Vice President of Campaigns for the League of Conservation Voters Victory Fund, in a statement. “Unfortunately for Cory Gardner, no campaign website update can make up for years of climate denial and siding with big corporate polluters,” said Maysmith.

In fact, it’s hard to find evidence that Gardner is a “national leader” on climate change, as his new campaign website claims.

And Gardner’s office did not return a call seeking to know why he thinks he’s a national leader on the issue–and what “commonsense” climate change policies he’s put forward.

Over his career, Gardner has said in multiple interviews that the climate is warming but that the human contribution to the problem is hyped in the news media.

Gardner voted five times to stop the EPA from regulating the major climate-change pollutant.

(more…)

Gardner’s 2020 Strategy: Say the Word “Socialism” A Lot

Not a real sign. Yet.

As far as anyone can tell, Senator. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is indeed running for re-election in 2020. In Colorado.

Gardner’s campaign strategy is just starting to get rolling — we’ve seen hints of it in his rare public comments — and it looks like the narrative is going to be fairly simple:

  1. Cory Gardner believes in Colorado and he believes in America and you should vote for him unless you hate Colorado and hate America;
  2. Cory Gardner does not like socialism;
  3. Both #1 and #2.

That’s pretty much all you get from Gardner, as you can see from this Tweet today:


If this seems like an oversimplification of a much more complex argument…well, that’s because it is. Gardner’s only real path to victory in November is to scare voters about socialism while he marches around the state blasting “God Bless America” from his truck speakers. There are student council candidates with more substantive platforms.

Also not a real sign. Yet.

In Gardner’s defense, he doesn’t have many other options here. He can’t really pretend to care about health care anymore. He can crow about moving 27 whole people to a new Bureau of Land Management headquarters in Grand Junction, but that’s more of a bullet point than a message.

Gardner is so thoroughly attached to President Trump that nobody would believe him if he claimed to be bipartisan. He’ll definitely talk about the Arkansas Valley Conduit project, but that only takes up about 15 seconds. Gardner certainly won’t mention that The Denver Post famously un-endorsed him…and you can’t put “Coloradans deserves better than Cory Gardner” on a yard sign.

“SOCIALISM BAD!” obviously works a lot better for Gardner if Bernie Sanders is the Democratic Presidential nominee. It doesn’t make any sense as a tactic against likely Democratic Senate nominee John Hickenlooper, however, and it’s pretty pointless if Joe Biden or Michael Bloomberg win the Democratic Presidential nomination (but he’ll still say it anyway).

This is Gardner’s 2020 playbook. He’ll scream about socialism and pray for a Sanders nomination, and he’ll hope like hell that nobody notices that he’s never in Colorado. If the top of the Democratic ticket in November is, say, Biden and Hickenlooper, then “Plan B” is to drone on forever about how much he “believes” in Colorado and “believes” in America.

Things are looking blue indeed for Cory Gardner.

Cory Gardner In The Dock: SCOTUS Takes ACA Sabotage Case

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

NBC News reports on good and bad news for Colorado’s #1 enemy of the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, Sen. Cory Gardner–the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments this fall in a case brought by Texas to declare the entire landmark 2010 health reform bill unconstitutional, after legislation passed by the GOP-controlled Congress in 2017 kicked a principal mechanism out from under the law:

Since the law was passed, opponents have attacked the individual mandate, a central feature, which requires all Americans to buy insurance or pay a penalty on their income tax. The Supreme Court upheld Obamacare in 2012, ruling that it was a legitimate exercise of Congress’ taxing authority.

But in 2017, the Republican-led Congress set the tax penalty at zero. That led Texas and a group of red states to rule that the revised law is unconstitutional. A federal judge in Texas agreed, ruling that because the tax was eliminated, the law could no no longer be saved as a use of the taxing power. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans upheld that ruling by a 2-1 vote in mid-December.

But the appeals court decision ordered the trial judge to reconsider his ruling that the entire law must fall without the glue of the individual mandate holding it together. The Trump administration initially said parts the law could be saved without the individual mandate, but then changed its position to say the rest of the statute could not stand.

The good news for Sen. Cory Gardner in this decision is that the Supremes did not grant a request for an expedited hearing of the case, which could have resulted in the Court issuing a politically fateful decision just a few months before the 2020 election. This is a law which has been helping millions of Americans for nearly a decade, and remains popular despite one of the most vitriolic propaganda campaigns in American history. The pain an adverse decision could inflict on millions of ordinary Americans represents a dire political threat to the law’s opponents. Politico:

[I]t’s unlikely the justices will rule before the election on the lawsuit, which could wipe out the Affordable Care Act’s insurance protections and coverage for millions of people. The court is expected to hear the case during its next term starting in October, but the court did not yet say when it will hear oral arguments…it’s rare that justices review a case before it’s received full consideration in lower courts — and the decision to do so underscores the monumental stakes of a case could upend coverage for millions of people and create chaos across the health care system. [Pols emphasis]

Democrats were able to leverage the lawsuit’s threat to coverage for preexisting medical conditions to retake the House of Representatives in the 2018 midterms. Democratic leaders, eager to run the same playbook this year, have routinely attacked Trump over his support for the lawsuit and the lack of a viable Obamacare replacement.

The bad news, of course, is that Gardner is directly to blame, more than any other public figure in Colorado, for the continuing peril the ACA finds itself in. Gardner voted for the 2017 bill zeroing out the individual mandate, which paved the way for the legal challenge the SCOTUS just agreed to hear. But that’s just the beginning: Gardner voted on innumerable occasions in both the House and Senate to repeal the ACA in its entirety. Gardner voted to repeal the ACA with or without a replacement, and with or without protection for patients with pre-existing conditions who are some of the biggest undisputed beneficiaries of the law.

Because Gardner has relentlessly attacked the Affordable Care Act as a central goal of his career in federal office, trading on just about every falsehood about the law that came and went as facts caught up with the spin, Gardner is even more vulnerable to voter backlash against Republicans for endangering the literal health of millions of Americans without providing any alternative. Zeroing out the individual mandate was supposed to be just one component of a broader Republican replacement for the Affordable Care Act–but because the GOP majority never put a replacement plan together, all they did was damage.

In theory, delaying the potentially devastating impact of this decision until after the 2020 election is good for Cory Gardner. But for a Senator already down by double digits, the needless threat to the health of millions of Americans the oral arguments in the case will reveal to voters is probably enough. On this issue, Cory Gardner’s day of reckoning has been a long, long time coming.

On the Coronavirus, Cory Gardner’s Rhetoric Doesn’t Match His Record

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner said this morning that he doesn’t want people to play politics with the coronavirus outbreak. He did so while ignoring the massive public health budget cuts in recent years and his own history of using the Ebola outbreak for political gain.

Earlier today on KOA 850-AM, Gardner dismissed a question asking about Trump administration cuts to the public health funding at the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and National Institute of Health.

GARDNER: “Congress has funded CDC and NIH robustly over the past several years. I don’t want people to play partisanship on this and I hope you don’t see people go to their political corners because there’s an election eight months from now either to create some kind of a panic or because they want to put on their Democrat or Republican shirts.”

But Gardner’s statement is contradicted by news reports on cuts to public health funding, particularly at the CDC.

The Washington Post detailed drastic CDC cuts in an article titled, “CDC to cut by 80 percent efforts to prevent global disease outbreak.” It noted that “countries where the CDC is planning to scale back include some of the world’s hot spots for emerging infectious disease, such as China….”

More recently, Foreign Policy magazine noted that the cuts to the CDC were so severe that “much of its staff was laid off and the number of countries it was working in was reduced from 49 to merely 10.”

Just a couple months later in May of 2018, the article continues, “Trump ordered the NSC’s entire global health security unit shut down.”

(more…)