After Trump’s disastrous news conference with Russian President Putin Monday, in which Trump sided with a U.S. adversary, multiple Denver media outlets made it sound as if Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner actually criticized Trump’s handling of Putin, like other members of the Colorado congressional delegation did.
CBS4 included Gardner among “Colorado Lawmakers Not Happy About Trump’s Comments At Helsinki Summit.” The Denver Post included Gardner among local politicians who directed “bipartisan scorn” at Trump. The Post story was headllined, “Colorado’s members of Congress criticize Trump for statements on Russia and 2016 election during press conference with Putin.”
In fact, Gardner did nothing of the sort. As the Denver Channel pointed out, Gardner didn’t mention Trump by name at all, instead leveling his attacks on Putin.
Take a close look at Gardner’s entire statement about the Trump-Putin news conference below.
You’ll see that, in accordance with Gardner’s record of voting with Trump 90 percent of the time, Gardner doesn’t speak ill of the President at all.
Gardner: “Whether it be chemical attacks on allied soil, the invasion of Ukraine, propping up the murderer Assad in Syria, or meddling in our elections through cyber-attacks, Vladimir Putin’s Russia remains an adversary to the United States. I believe Russia is a state sponsor of terror and I’ve introduced legislation that would mandate the State Department to determine whether Russia merits this designation, along with their allies Iran and Syria that are already designated. Additionally, I will continue to support maximum economic sanctions on Russia, including the full implementation of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) that passed the Senate by a vote of 98-2.
“I encourage the Administration to avoid the mistakes of past Administrations in normalizing relations with Russia at zero cost to Putin and his regime. The only ‘reset’ we can have with Russia is when it completely reverses course and begins to act in accordance with civilized norms and international law. Nothing should change as of today – Putin’s Russia is not a friend to the United States.”
In fact, instead of criticizing Trump, Gardner went after Obama, a fact that didn’t escape the attention of New York Times columnist David Leonhardt:
My vote for the single weakest statement goes to either Senators Cory Gardner of Colorado or Bill Cassidy of Louisiana — both of whom complained about previous presidents.
To be fair, Gardner disagreed with Trump’s apparent view that relations with Russia should be reset. But Trump isn’t even named–and the outrage of the day, that Trump insulted American intelligence agencies, isn’t mentioned.
Next time Gardner issues, as ColoradoPols put it, a “non-condemnation” statement of Trump, while other politicians are truly denouncing the president, reporters should call Gardner and find out what he really means. Maybe he won’t explain, but that would be good to know too.