A couple years ago, when Trump refused to condemn an attack by white nationalists at a protest in Charlottesville, saying at the time that the violence was caused by “very fine people on both sides,” Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner jumped in the national media spotlight and called on Trump to “lay blame on white supremacists, on white nationalism, and on hatred.”
Gardner’s comments landed in media outlets from Sunday TV talk shows to The Denver Post and elsewhere.
In a surprise statement last week, after Biden showed Charlottesville footage at his presidential campaign launch, Trump raised the issue again, and defended his “very fine people” remark.
“I was talking about people that went because they felt very strongly about the monument to Robert E. Lee,” Trump said, according to CNN’s Kaitlan Collins. “People there were protesting the taking down of the monument to Robert E. Lee. Everybody knows that.”
“Whether you like it or not, he was one of the great generals,” Trump said.
After Trump’s comments went viral, Gardner didn’t race to the media, as he did in 2017, to repeat his call on Trump to “lay the blame on white supremacists.”
Then, less than a day after Trump’s statement, came the hate-crime shooting at the synagogue in California.
And still, nothing from Gardner. And no media coverage of his non-statement.
Why the silence? You might think Gardner would raise his voice again–and fish for repeat media coverage.
We don’t know what Gardner is thinking, because he didn’t return a call from the Colorado Times Recorder.
So we must speculate that Gardner appears to have settled on a re-election strategy of mostly back slapping Trump in hopes of rallying the Republican base in Colorado and simultaneously hoping the president becomes more popular here among swing Unaffiliated voters, creating a path to victory for Gardner in 2020.
Gardner has already endorsed Trump, and wants to bring him to Colorado to campaign together.
And Gardner was on KCOL radio just yesterday trying to convince the “media” that Trump has great potential to be popular in Colorado.
“Sometimes the media forgets that half of Colorado voted for President Trump — almost half,” Trump told KCOL’s Gail Fallon. “[Trump] only lost by four points, compared to John McCain who lost by eight points and Mitt Romney who lost by six points. And Jared Polis, the governor, wrote himself a 24 million dollar check, dramatically outspending Walker Stapleton. So those kinds of imbalances aren’t going to exist.
“And I think once the media bubble breaks a little bit and people see what’s happening across Colorado, then they’re going to realize that, yes, Colorado is always competitive but we’re going to be proud to take our record of accomplishment to all four corners and show the great things we have done from from end to end of that state to make people’s lives better. And so, we’re very excited to take that — I’m very excited to have that opportunity.”
If you’re Gardner, and you’re beating the media drum with that kind of Happy Talk about Trump’s potential in Colorado, why would you undermine yourself by criticizing the president for cozying up to white Nationalists? You wouldn’t. And Gardner didn’t.
Listen to Gardner on KCOL May 1: