WASHINGTON–Standing from the third floor of the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington DC today, near Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner’s office, one could hear the chanting and see the wave of protesters making their way to the Capitol.
But neither noise of the demonstrations, both for and against impeachment, nor the glare of the media spotlight has moved Gardner to stop dodging questions about the impeachment inquiry, including how he’d vote on whether to remove President Donald Trump from office.
In October, Gardner called the impeachment inquiry a “political circus” — going so far as to vote in favor of a Senate resolution condemning the House’s impeachment process.
Yet, since then, while many of his Republican colleagues have answered repeated questions about impeachment, Gardner has remained mostly mum, dodging reporters’ and the public’s queries.
On Tuesday, Gardner fled from a reporter with other GOP senators after they asked him about witnesses.
“We’ll have a trial!” Gardner shouted before making a break for a GOP luncheon.
Again today, Gardner’s office declined to answer questions from the Colorado Times Recorder about whether he’ll vote to remove Trump from office — or if he thinks it was appropriate for the White House to prevent administration officials from testifying before Congress.
With Gardner hiding in his office, protesters outside were getting louder.
Some pro-impeachment demonstrators expressed frustration and said that the likelihood of Republican senators, like Gardner, who are up for re-election being impartial or considering all of the evidence before them is slim.
Another protestor interjected: “[Impeachment] won’t change anything with the polarization right now.”
One demonstrator, who arrived on a one-wheel skateboard that was decorated like a sled and donning a jolly Santa costume, said that any senator who has made up their mind should reconsider.
“That should be what they’re doing — wait time hear evidence,” they said.
Others standing around him, however, had little faith in the Senate’s ability to be impartial.
Senators, like Gardner, who face tight reelection campaigns next year, are walking a tight rope, say political analysts.
Some, like Sens. Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Susan Collins (R-ME), appear to have already sided with the White House.
Ernst spent an hour fielding questions from constituents during a town hall last month, arguing that Trump did not lie to the public about pressuring the newly-elected Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy.