Cory Gardner is risking lives.

Last week, after the federal government stole 500 ventilators out from under Colorado, U.S. Senator Cory Gardner and Donald Trump gloated on Twitter that the president would send just 100 of those ventilators to Colorado as a political favor for Gardner. Gardner won’t stand up to Trump when his administration hoards life-saving PPEs and ventilators, but he will happily collude with him when he uses those devices as political patronage.

Trump and Gardner are playing politics with people’s lives and are using ventilators as political currency during a time of national crisis.

Gardner has double-crossed Coloradans by promising to protect people with pre-existing conditions – then voting seven times to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). He then tried to take credit for state legislators’ work to improve ACA reinsurance in Colorado, while working to gut the law. Gardner claims to work for lower prescription drug prices but is silent on any legislation opposed by big Pharma, which has donated millions to his campaigns. Over and over, Cory Gardner has failed Coloradans and made health care more expensive.

The abuse of power that lets the Federal government seize ventilators from states only to be doled out by Trump as political favors is tragic. Gardner’s silence in the face of this deepens the crisis. Gardner could stand up to the White House and demand the rest of the ventilators they stole, and the PPEs frontline workers need. He should be demanding investigations into the seizures of vital medical supplies from both state governments and health care providers around the country. Instead, Cory Gardner is silent.

While Colorado’s state government has been leading the nation in making health care less expensive, Gardner refuses to take what is working for Coloradans and bring it to all Americans. Colorado opened up a special enrollment period for people affected by coronavirus to buy coverage on the private market, but Gardner stayed silent when Trump refused to do the same for the rest of the country. As a state, we are working on health care policies that will give Coloradans more options and save them money. What has Cory done for us?

It’s time for Cory Gardner’s silence to end. Coloradans do not need a Senator who grovels instead of fighting. Stand up to Donald Trump. Stand up to Jared Kushner and his gang that has taken over FEMA’s supply distribution. Fight for Colorado. Fight to save lives.

State Sen. Jessie Danielson, D-Wheat Ridge, represents District 20 in Jeffco.