Colorado Public Radio’s Allison Sherry reports that U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), who’s in Colorado for a two-week congressional recess “isn’t shy about talking about where he opposes President Trump.”
Sherry reports that “the state’s junior Republican senator spoke out against Trump’s trade policies, his proposed travel ban and the president’s budget priorities that cut diplomatic spending over defense spending.”
Without noting that Gardner has voted with Trump 100 percent of the time so far, Sherry reported:
One of the senator’s recess stops was speaking to employees at CoBank, which provides credit to farmers. Gardner said he was disappointed in the president’s stance on trade, particularly the Trans Pacific Partnership….
On immigration, Gardner said he has continued conversations with Republican Senate colleagues on the need for a comprehensive immigration reform bill that tackled strengthening the border, but also reforming the visa program. He said he wasn’t sure how the Trump administration would greet such a bill, but that discussions were ongoing.
Gardner opposed a bipartisan comprehensive immigration bill when it was in Congress in 2013.
Gardner’s stop at CoBank is noteworthy, because it continues a string of meetings Gardner has held at private venues. He’s also taken questions on 15 conservative talk radio shows this year.
But Gardner has refused to take questions directly from constituents at a town-hall meeting, generating so much frustration that over 1,500 people gathered last month and put questions to a cardboard cutout of Colorado’s senator. At this event, many were angry at Gardner’s repeated accusation that he’s been targeted by “paid protesters.”
Gardner, who once specifically promised to hold “town meetings” so constituents could hold him “accountable,” now argues that he can reach more people via telephone conference calls, which he calls “telephone town halls.” He’s taken a wide range of questions during these events and offers constituents the chance to sign up for them.
Gardner’s critics respond by arguing that it’s the job of elected officials to face voters directly–and that telephone calls do not provide the same opportunity for give-and-take as an in-person town hall, even if such events can get unruly.
All of Colorado’s members of Congress, Republicans and Democrats, with the exception of Gardner, have held in-person town halls this year.