Cory Gardner's die-hard loyalty to Trump could be a problem for him in Colorado.
Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) seems desperate to cast himself as anything other than a Trump-supporting partisan — so desperate that he promoted a quote praising him as "bipartisan" that came from his own Republican Party chair.
On Tuesday, Gardner tweeted an article by Colorado Republican Party Chairman Ken Buck alleging Gardner is "one of the most bipartisan and effective senators Colorado has ever seen."
As the state chair of Gardner’s own party, Buck is hardly qualified to comment on how well Gardner works with those on the opposite side of the aisle. But even if Buck were a reliable source, his statement would be difficult, if not impossible, to justify based on Gardner’s far-right voting record and extremely close ties to Trump.
Gardner has been a reliable rubber stamp for all of Trump's most extreme judicial picks, including Brett Kavanaugh, who was credibly accused of attempted rape. Overall, Gardner voted the way Trump wanted him to 90% of the time.
When Trump flouted the U.S. Constitution to declare a fake national emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border, Gardner refused to speak out against or condemn Trump's actions. Gardner's weakness on this issue caused the Denver Post editorial board to call their 2014 endorsement "a mistake" and write, "We no longer know what principles guide the senator and regret giving him our support."
Gardner also flip-flopped on his support of Trump, one of the most divisive and partisan political figures in the country. In 2016, Gardner said he "cannot and will not support someone who brags about degrading and assaulting women." But in 2019, Gardner rushed to endorse Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign — apparently no longer caring about Trump "degrading and assaulting women."
When it came to major issues such as health care and taxes, Gardner cast the party-line votes demanded by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. He voted to rip away health care from 400,000 Coloradans, and his support of the GOP tax scam forced 181,000 Colorado families to pay higher taxes last year so that billionaires could get richer.
"Gardner has become part of the corrupt political system in Washington, voting for huge tax cuts for billionaires and corporations while leaving hardworking Coloradans behind," Alyssa Roberts, Colorado Democratic Party spokesperson, said in a Tuesday statement.
Gardner’s attempts to portray himself as bipartisan may be influenced by Colorado’s increasingly liberal electorate. Trump lost the state in the 2016 election, and in 2018 Colorado voters flipped the state Senate from red to blue, kept control of the state House, and elected Democrats to every statewide office.
Gardner has been "a consistent supporter of Trump, saying nothing about corruption or misbehavior, voting loyally for every nominee, even those who have lied to the Senate, like Scott Pruitt and Wilbur Ross, and those without visible qualifications for office," Norm Ornstein, a scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, recently told Colorado Politics. "He voted to blow up the Affordable Care Act. He supported every filibuster engineered by McConnell when Obama was president."
In fact, Ornstein said, Gardner is "one of the most partisan members of Congress."
Buck, Gardner's state party chairman, wrote to urge Coloradans to "look at Sen. Gardner’s record."
If they do, they will see a die-hard Trump loyalist and a staunch Republican partisan.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.