Like Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), Republican Senators up for reelection in competitive states next year still refuse to say whether they consider it appropriate for President Donald Trump to ask a foreign leader to investigate a political rival.
Gardner dodged questions last week from reporters in Colorado about whether he thought it was appropriate for Trump to ask a foreign leader to investigate a political rival.
“Look, this is what we’re going to get into,” Gardner said after a recent Colorado Chamber of Commerce event in downtown Denver. “Unfortunately though what we’ve seen is a very political process take over.”
On the same day that Gardner ducked questions from local reporters, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) gave a similar response and punted responsibility toward the Senate Intelligence Committee.
“I would say that I don’t know that we have that information in front of us,” Ernst said in response to whether it was appropriate for Trump to ask Ukraine or China to investigate the Bidens.
Some GOP senators, who aren’t on the ballot next year, parted ways with Trump after he publicly called on China to investigate the Bidens.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said that “of course” it was inappropriate, and Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) called it “wrong and appalling.”
Still, Gardner blasted reporters last week for their line of questioning.
“Why is it when you all do stories, when we see reports in the news, it’s about four states: Colorado, Arizona, Maine and North Carolina,” he said.
Senators from those states have apparently not answered the question put to Gardner.
Republican senators in those four states will be seeking reelection at the same time that Trump is on the ballot. One concern that could explain the radio silence by some senators is that stepping out of line could welcome a primary challenger that is in lock-step with the White House.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), also in the midst of a tough reelection bid, held her cards close to her while responding to reporters last month.
“If there are articles of impeachment, I would be a juror just as I was in the trial for President Clinton, and as a juror I think it’s inappropriate for me to reach conclusions about evidence or to comment on the proceedings in the House,” Collins told Bloomberg.
At the heart of the impeachment inquiry is the allegation that Trump withheld already-allocated military aid to pressure Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. Trump then added fuel to the fire when he stood in front of reporters and asked China to start an investigation.
Gardner, who faces a tough reelection in 2020, previously called the inquiry a partisan effort by House Democrats seeking to reverse the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.
He did not respond to multiple requests for comment for this article.
Correction: This post initially contained a statement that was intended as a “TBD” placeholder. It was removed.