Last month, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd called Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a “national treasure.”

Now U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) is saying Fauci is a “national treasure” as well.

“Well, look, I think you have to recognize Dr. Fauci as a national treasure,” Gardner said on KOA radio’s Good Morning Colorado last week.

A call to Gardner’s office to see if he got the line from Dowd, a searing critic of Trump’s, was not returned.

We know Gardner didn’t rip off the line from Trump, who not long ago tweeted #firefauci and is reportedly as irritated as ever with Fauci for warning in testimony last week about the danger of opening schools too early.

But wherever he got the idea to call Fauci a “treasure,” Gardner will anger some conservatives with his Fauci idolatry.

The doctor is regularly vilified in the conservative media and Fox News, as a stubborn obstacle to Trump’s plan to re-open businesses and get the economy up and running again before November’s election.

The leader of Colorado’s Republican Party, Congressman Ken Buck, attacked Fauci in an op-ed titled “Is Anthony Fauci helping or hurting?

But other Republicans, like Florida Sen. Lindsey Graham, have also praised Fauci.

“I believe we can work with Dr. Fauci and the scientists — as we must — to make sure we reopening this economy in a way that builds confidence in the American consumer, that our economy can once again grow and thrive,” said Gardner on air.

Listen to Gardner on May 15 on KOA 850-AM