In an apparent move to deflect criticism that the Trump Administration undermined Colorado’s request to purchase 500 ventilators from manufacturers, President Donald Trump this morning gave Colorado 100 ventilators and credited U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) for securing them.
In a Fox News interview after Trump’s announcement, Gardner thanked Trump for the ventilators, without criticizing the president for not providing enough.
“I talked to the president last night about the Colorado need for ventilators, and of course I am very thankful that he provided that last night,” said Gardner on Fox News, noting that he will work to get more.
In a conference call yesterday, Gardner was asked about Colorado Gov. Jared Polis’ (D-CO) claim that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) caused Colorado’s order for 500 ventilators from manufacturers to be canceled, because FEMA scooped up all of the ventilators from manufacturers in the U.S.
Gardner didn’t respond to the question yesterday, but said he’d talked Trump, Pence, and Polis about the issue, according to a Tweet from The Denver Post’s Justin Wingerter.
Then, this morning, Trump Tweeted, “Will be immediately sending 100 ventilators to Colorado at the request of Senator Gardner.”
But critics pounced on Trump’s tweet and Gardner’s response, pointing out that Trump’s 100 ventilators are only 20 percent of the ventilators Colorado attempted to purchase and that Colorado originally requested 100 times as many ventilators from the federal government, according to a report from CBS channel 7.
“Cory Gardner is such a spineless yes-man to Donald Trump that he is literally thanking Trump for only stealing 400 ventilators from his state,” said Zach Hudson, a spokesperson with American Bridge, a progressive advocacy group. “Gardner’s pathetic groveling to the President who just hijacked hundreds of desperately needed ventilators from his state highlights why Gardner is currently losing his re-election campaign by double digits.”
In addition his appearance on Fox News, Gardner took to Twitter this morning to thank Trump, without pointing out that the president’s response was deficient.
“Donald Trump has approved the National Guard assistance in Colorado in response to COVID-19, following the request of members of the Colorado delegation,” tweeted Gardner.
The Hill reported yesterday, before Trump promised 100 ventilators for Colorado, that a Polis spokesman said Colorado’s ventilator request from FEMA would not be granted “any time soon.”
“Domestic ventilator manufacturers have informed the Governor that the orders of Colorado and other states will not be fulfilled any time soon because FEMA is jumping the line and demanding all the product,” [Polis spokesman] Cahill told the Hill.
Gardner did not return a request for comment.
“We believe Colorado’s surge is yet to come, and that’s what we are preparing for and that’s why it’s so necessary that we continue to fight for the protective equipment, the ventilators we need,” said Gardner on Fox.
Clarification: This post was not clear originally about the ventilators (10,000) that were requested by Colorado from the federal government and the ventilators (500) that Colorado attempted to purchase, only to have the federal government step in and buy them instead of allowing Colorado to do so.