Search Results for: cory gardner

Cory Gardner Screws Up on North Korea

UPDATE #3: A spokesperson for Vice President Mike Pence calls out Gardner directly:


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UPDATE #2: Vice President Mike Pence continues to refute Gardner’s claims. Welcome to Thunderdome!

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UPDATE: A spokesperson for Vice President Mike Pence adamantly denies the story that Gardner is peddling:

Pence’s press secretary, Alyssa Farah, said otherwise, and that the vice president said no such thing during the policy lunch.

Ruh-roh!

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North Korea policy experts Dennis Rodman (left) and Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma).

Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) has worked hard in recent years to position himself next to former professional basketball player Dennis Rodman as one of this country’s foremost experts on North Korea. It’s never been clear that President Trump actually listens to Gardner on this topic, but that hasn’t stopped Colorado’s junior Senator from backtracking on prior statements on North Korea in order to attempt to fit into Trump’s inner circle.

Gardner is spending much of today cheerleading for President Trump’s “summit” with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore, and he seems to be getting carried away with his Trump translations. Gardner was a guest on the “Business for Breakfast” show on KNUS radio this morning, where he tried (and failed) to parse Trump’s words on ending military exercises between the U.S. and South Korea. Here’s what Gardner told host Jimmy Sengenberger just this morning:

I’ve talked to the President numerous times, including just a few days ago before he left for Singapore. [I] spoke this morning with a staffer who is in Singapore from the National Security Council to make sure I get an accurate — receive an accurate readout of both the meeting — internal meeting — as well as the press stand up after the summit. So, I feel like I have a good — a good grasp on what took place there, but certainly need more information as the days come forward.

You know, look, there is going to be a lot of people talking about — and analyzing — whether this is a good move or a bad move. Bottom line is this he talked about war games. That probably means bomber overflights. Does that mean all exercises? Doubtful. Does it mean that we stop working with South Korea? No. And does that mean — and did the President qualify it with good faith efforts and progress toward denuclearization? Yes he did. So, you know, I think there’s room to move on this, as long as we have those good faith efforts and progress being made toward denuclearization. The President didn’t say we’re going to stop the exercises or joint training. He didn’t say that. [Pols emphasis]

Um, yes, he did. As CNN and every other media outlet on earth has reported, Trump was very explicit in this declaration. While Gardner tries to intimate that Trump meant something other than what he actually said, U.S. military leaders are under no such illusion. As the Military Times explains:

The Pentagon is now working to implement President Donald Trump’s direction that it cancel joint exercises with the Republic of Korea following Trump’s historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. [Pols emphasis]

“Under the circumstances, we are negotiating a comprehensive and complete deal [on denuclearization]. It is inappropriate to have war games,” Trump said in a press conference following the summit in Singapore. “Number one, we save money. A lot. Number two, it is really something they very much appreciated.”

In that press conference in Singapore, Trump also said that he would like to withdraw the thousands of U.S. forces stationed on the Korean peninsula, but would start with cancellation of military exercises.

Gardner appears to be getting some flak for “mansplaining” Trump’s comments, so he reacted this afternoon by throwing Vice President Mike Pence under the bus:

But…but…that’s not what mom said!

We’re not really going out on much of a limb when we say that President Trump’s decisions probably supersede whatever Vice President Mike Pence tells Gardner separately. Have fun explaining this one, Cory!

Cory Gardner Said a Proposed Abortion Ban Was Just Symbolic, but He Has Yet to Co-Sponsor It Again

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

It’s been almost four years since U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) was running around Colorado saying that federal personhood legislation, which aimed to ban all abortion, even for rape, and which Gardner co-sponsored as a member of the U.S. House, was “simply a statement that I support life.”

Reporters repeatedly objected, reading the text of the anti-abortion bill directly to Gardner, but the words of the bill, and the fact checkers views of it, slid off Gardner, as did all those political advertisements warning everyone about Gardner’s extreme anti-choice views. Gardner said his Democratic opponent was just “trying to distract voters.

If the personhood legislation was indeed the symbol Gardner said it was in 2014, you’d think Colorado’s Republican senator would have co-sponsored the senate version of the bill once he was seated in the senate.

But Gardner’s name doesn’t appear on the Life at Conception Act, the Senate’s personhood legislation, sponsored by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY). Eleven other U.S. senators have co-sponsored the bill but not Gardner.

I called Gardner’s office to find out why he’s not on board with the bill, which is pretty much identical to the one he co-sponsored as a Congressman from northern Colorado in 2913. No response.

It doesn’t appear that Gardner’s anti-abortion position has changed since Colorado voters installed him in the senate.

You’d expect him to take action to restrict a women’s right to choose, and he has.

Since he was elected senator in 2014, Gardner has voted seven times to de-fund Planned Parenthood (e.g., Four Obamacare repeal measures, backed by Gardner, contained provisions that would have rescinded funds from the women’s health organization.)

Gardner hasn’t objected to Trump’s orders to gag some federally funded clinics from even talking about the option of abortion, a rule which will cause Planned Parenthood to lose millions of federal dollars.

And before that, Gardner didn’t object to Trump’s order imposing the same rule on U.S. funded clinics internationally.

Gardner continues his anti-abortion fight. So why hasn’t he co-sponsored the personhood bill again? It’s just a statement of his support for life, he said before about the bill, which came to define the 2014 campaign.

Party’s Back On In Singapore, Cory Gardner!

USA TODAY’s David Jackson reports via affiliate 9NEWS and it’s so damn exciting:

After a rare meeting with a high-ranking North Korean official, President Trump said Friday he has rescheduled a June 12 summit in Singapore with Kim Jong Un as part of a long-term effort to try and end the latter’s nuclear weapons programs.

In a moment for every red-blooded patriotic American to celebrate, Glorious Leader Donald Trump will meet with North Korea’s Dear Leader Kim Jong Un on the 12th of this month after all! Whatever is what that led Trump to suddenly cancel the meeting a week and a half ago–it’s water under the bridge!

While hailing the promise of an unprecedented summit, Trump also sought to tamp down expectations by saying that “we’re not going to go sign something” at the Singapore meeting. [Pols emphasis] Instead, he said, “the process will begin” on an agreement to have Kim eliminate the nuclear weapons that have generated global tensions for years.

“I think it’s a getting-to-know-you meeting, plus,” Trump told reporters at the White House. [Pols emphasis]

It’s very difficult to contain our enthusiasm–hey, wait a minute. Weren’t there some kind of, you know, benchmarks that the North Koreans were supposed to meet before earning the right to sit down mano y mano with the President of the United States? Didn’t we actually just hear about this recently?

Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO), Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy, today released the below statement following President Trump’s decision to cancel the summit with Kim Jong Un.

“President Trump has made the right decision to cancel the summit with Kim Jong Un until North Korea is ready to act in good faith to fully denuclearize,” said Gardner. “We must double down on our strategy of maximum pressure and engagement. It’s time to pass my bipartisan legislation, the LEED Act, because it will increase the pressure on Kim Jong Un by implementing a full economic embargo and targeting his regime’s enablers. Our goal of any discussions with North Korea should remain the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

After all, when Barack Obama was President, Sen. Cory Gardner was really super specific and nasty about not having any chit-chat sessions with North Korea without some firm concessions in hand:

“It is extremely disappointing, yet unsurprising, that the Obama Administration would talk with North Korea without tough preconditions, including ending its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, human rights abuses, or cyber attacks. It was dangerously naïve for the Obama Administration to offer concessions to Pyongyang’s Forgotten Maniac, Kim Jong-un, especially when we’ve seen the Iranian nuclear deal fail to change the behavior of that regime,” said Gardner.

Now, we’re going to go out on a limb here and suggest that Sen. Gardner would have been most displeased by an announcement that President Obama was meeting with Kim Jong Un for a “getting-to-know-you meeting.” Even with a little “plus.”

Right? Or are we just Pollyannish to think that anything including hypocrisy of the first order on something as important as nuclear foreign policy…matters anymore?

As of this writing, we haven’t seen Gardner try to put this all back together. For whatever reason the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee On East Asia, The Pacific, And International Cybersecurity Policy hasn’t jumped back on the North Korea roller-coaster publicly since he backed Trump’s decision to cancel the summit.

But at this point, it doesn’t matter. Gardner’s only job now is apparently to shine whatever turd Trump lays.

Cory Gardner: Helpless Passenger on Trump’s Crazy Korea Train

After President Donald Trump announced last week that a high-profile summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was cancelled, Republicans who cheered the initial announcement of the summit–despite their condemnation of President Barack Obama for even considering the same thing–dutifully walked back their accolades in order to support their President’s erratic negotiation style. CBS4 Denver reported Friday:

Sen. Cory Gardner says North Korea’s recent posture that contributed towards President Trump’s decision to call off the June 12 summit in Singapore fits a “pattern of misbehavior.” The promises of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s family have been broken over the decades many times, and this is nothing new, the Colorado Republican told “CBS This Morning” on Friday…

Gardner said what the U.S. is seeing is a struggle in Kim — a struggle between a peacemaker to bring his reclusive nation out of darkness, and between the propagandist. It looks like the propagandist won that debate, Gardner said. Gardner said he hopes the lingering questions of exactly why North Korea failed to communicate with the Americans will be answered.

Sen. Cory Gardner and other apologists for Trump responded initially to the announcement that the summit was off by declaring that North Korea had failed to meet specific-but-undefined benchmarks indicating their commitment to “irreversible denuclearization.” That would at least have been nominally consistent with Gardner’s previous criticism of President Obama’s overtures to North Korea, in which Gardner said that to meet with Kim Jong Un without a hard and fast agreement to denuclearize would be irresponsible.

But as it turns out, this latest flare-up was the result of Trump getting upset over boilerplate bellicose rhetoric in North Korean media. After Trump called off the summit, the leaders of the two Koreas held an emergency meeting to get things back on track, and Trump almost immediately started backing away from Thursday’s cancellation–again, with no new commitment from the North Koreans that would make either Gardner’s defense of Trump or criticism of Obama justifiable.

The reason? There is no justification. Gardner has absolutely no grounds to praise Trump for the same actions he condemned Obama for, especially now that Trump has demonstrated he is flying by the seat of his pants–basing major decisions on emotional reactions to press statements, not sober foreign policy objectives. And then walking them back. All behavior that Gardner would have absolutely lost his mind on Obama for.

Someday, hopefully soon, this will be apparent to even the most casual observer.

Cory Gardner: Think Big! There’s No Money, But Think Big

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

A story from Sunday’s Aspen Times caught our eye as illustrative of the way Sen. Cory Gardner does business–as interpreted by local officials on the Western Slope discussing a possible new reservoir on the White River east of Rangely:

Three variations of a potential dam that could someday sit astride the main stem of the White River between Meeker and Rangely have been examined by the Rio Blanco Water Conservancy District in Rangely…

[Engineer Steve] Jamieson said the district started studying the maximum size of the potential reservoirs after Sen. Cory Gardner asked during a site visit, “How big can you make this reservoir?”

During his presentation Jamieson repeatedly referred to Sen. Gardner, using phrases such as “this is the maximum Cory Gardner reservoir.”

“The maximum Cory Gardner reservoir.” As the Times reports, there are three different proposals to build a dam of varying height on the White River, which would result in progressively larger capacity reservoirs to replace the existing Kenney Reservoir which is gradually losing its storage capacity to sedimentation. Obviously, the higher the dam you build, the more it will cost.

Which brings us to the next logical question:

A roundtable member asked, “Did the senator promise the money for this?” [Pols emphasis]

The basin roundtables operate under the auspices of the Colorado Water Conservation Board and review grants for water projects.

“No, he did not, unfortunately,” said Brad McCloud of EIS Solutions, a public affairs consulting firm retained by the district. “We asked.”

The irony of a representative of EIS Solutions, one of the state’s busiest Republican political consultant groups, delivering the bad news that Cory Gardner has nothing to offer to actually help build the “maximum Cory Gardner reservoir” was not lost on us! Of course, it’s not our purpose to make a judgment on the objective merits of building a large new reservoir in western Colorado–we know our readers will not be unanimous on this question. The point is that if Cory Gardner wants to leave some kind of Wayne Aspinall-style legacy of water storage projects across the landscape of Colorado, he needs to have the pork-barrel juice to back it up. And it would seem that Gardner does not.

Perhaps the “maximum Cory Gardner reservoir” is a tub just big enough to drown the government in?

Trump Burns Cory Gardner, West Virginia Edition

CNN reports that President Donald Trump is wading into tomorrow’s GOP primary election for the U.S. Senate in West Virginia, hoping to provide some–keep a straight face–moral guidance to voters, or at least practical advise about not nominating a candidate who can’t win the general election:

President Donald Trump on Monday urged voters in West Virginia to reject controversial Republican Senate candidate Don Blankenship in Tuesday’s primary, stepping into a contest where establishment Republicans have grown increasingly worried that the ex-con coal baron could win.

“To the great people of West Virginia we have, together, a really great chance to keep making a big difference,” Trump tweeted Monday morning. “Problem is, Don Blankenship, currently running for Senate, can’t win the General Election in your State…No way! Remember Alabama. Vote Rep. Jenkins or A.G. Morrisey!”

The tweet is a remarkable moment for Trump, given that Blankenship’s campaign — from its nativist tendencies to its use of conspiracy theories — takes many cues from the President’s 2016 playbook. Trump seized on Hillary Clinton’s unpopularity in West Virginia in 2016 and won 68% of the state in November.

Blankenship responded to Trump later Monday morning, saying the President “doesn’t know me and he doesn’t know how flawed my two main opponents are in this primary.”

Last week, we took note of Sen. Cory Gardner’s of Colorado’s much more qualified remarks about Don Blankenship. Gardner, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee “remembers Alabama” too, and having been stung by criticism that he abandoned the Republican nominee in that state is playing much closer to the vest in West Virginia–even if that means legitimizing a very bad candidate.

[Gardner] once quipped about how Blankenship wouldn’t be allowed onto the floor of the Senate with a home arrest ankle bracelet , a comment he says in retrospect was “probably a little too flippant.” Aware that his words might do more harm than good, Gardner refuses to weigh in on a race that could control Republican control of the Senate.

To recap, Gardner condemned Roy Moore in Alabama, only for Trump to undercut him by endorsing Moore in the campaign’s final days. In West Virginia, Gardner failed to condemn Don Blankenship. So Trump took care of it for him!

Seriously, it’s like Trump is waiting to hear what Gardner wants, and then doing the opposite. After which Gardner is left to fumble for an explanation for why he is so far off-message from the Republican President of the United States. To make things even more complicated, there were reports today that Blankenship is surging in the polls and could be on his way to an upset victory.

Safe to say this does not bode well for Gardner or Senate Republicans in November.

Cory Gardner’s Done Holding Senate Candidates To Standards

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

A column in the Phil Anschutz-owned Washington Examiner asks surprisingly hard questions about the role of Sen. Cory Gardner’s National Republican Senatorial Committee–or, as will be apparent from Gardner’s own statements, the lack of a role–in ensuring that Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate meet minimal standards for electability, decency, and other fundamental criteria. You may recall that last year, Gardner fled from the GOP nominee in Alabama’s U.S. Senate race Roy Moore after initially supporting him, and took heavy fire from the right after Moore narrowly lost.

When it comes to West Virginia’s similarly distasteful GOP U.S. Senate candidate, Don Blankenship, Gardner is treading much more carefully:

Everyone in Washington, D.C. knows Don Blankenship is putting the Republican majority at risk. The ex-con and former coal CEO has long been a pariah in his home state. His crime? He violated federal mine safety standards, causing or contributing to the death of 29 people in the big explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine — the worst mining accident in over forty years…

Hands down, Don Blankenship is the worst candidate running in the West Virginia Republican primary, and the best opportunity for incumbent Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin to keep his seat. So, why isn’t the National Republican Senate Committee making moves to stop Blankenship before he can do more damage?

According to NRSC Chairman Cory Gardner, R-Colo., it’s because it wouldn’t matter. [Pols emphasis]

What follows is a stunningly lucid assessment from Gardner of the disconnect between the Republican Party’s elites and their radicalized base of support: a disconnect that leaves the party powerless to prevent the rise of self-immolating fringe candidates.

“What we’ve seen is that the people of West Virginia, the people of Indiana, the people of Missouri could care less who the senatorial committee is supportive of,” Gardner explained during a recent meeting of the Washington Examiner editorial board. “In fact, [an NRSC intervention] may have the opposite effect.”

…He once quipped about how Blankenship wouldn’t be allowed onto the floor of the Senate with a home arrest ankle bracelet , a comment he says in retrospect was “probably a little too flippant.” Aware that his words might do more harm than good, Gardner refuses to weigh in on a race that could control Republican control of the Senate.

With respect to Roy Moore, much like Gardner’s call in mid-October of 2016 for Donald Trump to pull out of the presidential race it was more a case of Gardner following the herd of Republican sentiment instead of proactively leading. Gardner initially supported Moore after Moore won the primary, reversing only after the damaging press reports of Moore’s relationships with young women became an unbearable controversy. In fairness Gardner chose not to go back to supporting Moore when most of the rest of the GOP did, but that earned him blame–deserved or not–from Moore’s supporters after the dust settled.

Having been burned both ways now after making the mistake of standing on principle, Gardner seems to be shutting up and shining the turds in his charge like a good soldier. As we know from the aftermath of Trump’s election, when Gardner seamlessly transformed himself from Trump critic to servile Trump toady, victory is the only thing that matters at the end of the day. If Blankenship wins, Republicans notch a win. And that means Gardner’s NRSC notches a win.

Principles, as Gardner apparently learned from the Roy Moore debacle, are for losers.

Fix NICS: Cory Gardner Clings To Hope That You’re Stupid

Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma).

Denver7’s Blair Miller follows up on a big story we’ve been trying to get more information on since it broke over a week ago–an appearance on CBS’ Face the Nation by Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, in which Gardner was unexpectedly questioned about a secret hold he allegedly has placed on a bill to strengthen background checks on gun purchases.

Apparently Gardner really doesn’t want to cop to this one:

Many Senate bills often pass by unanimous consent so they don’t have to undergo dozens of hours of hearings and markups before a possible roll call vote. As such, some wondered how a bill that has a veto-proof number of cosponsors in the Senate was held up from being pushed through via unanimous consent, and whether the NRA was behind the hold. Fortune reported last month, citing the Center for Responsive Politics and the New York Times, that Gardner and his associated committees have received about $3.8 million from the NRA during his time in Congress.

ThinkProgress reported that Gardner was behind the hold, but did not cite any sources.

On CBS’s Face the Nation on March 11, Gardner was asked about the Fix NICS bill and said there were “some” senators talking about “due process issues in the bill and legislation.”

“I’ve talked to Sen. Cornyn and I hope that Sen. Cornyn will realize that we need to work this due process matter out. This isn’t an issue of whether you like this or not, it’s a question of constitutional rights and protecting the people of this country, protecting them from harm,” he said…

As for an honest admission from Gardner one way or the other, it’s not forthcoming:

Denver7 asked Gardner repeatedly over the past week whether he was indeed holding up the bill. Our news partners at The Denver Post asked as well, but did not receive a response. [Pols emphasis]

Tuesday evening, when asked about the prospects of Fix NICS being put into the omnibus bill, Gardner’s spokesman, Casey Contres, referred Denver7 back to Gardner’s Face the Nation comments, adding that, “Gardner supports this bill coming to the floor for a robust and open debate.”

Presumably Gardner’s spokesperson is referring to the omnibus spending bill the Fix NICS language was attached to, though it’s left unclear–and we strongly suspect that is Sen. Gardner’s deliberate choice. The fact is, Gardner’s refusal to confirm or deny that he placed a hold on the legislation makes it quite likely that, as all of these news reports suggest, he is. If Gardner was not the originator of the secret hold, by now it would have been far less damaging politically to simply say so.

We haven’t heard the specific reason why Fix NICS was bundled into this larger omnibus spending bill, but it’s reasonable to speculate it was done in order to bypass Gardner’s hold on the bill. At any point, Gardner and the gun lobby which prevailed upon him to take this action could decide that it is not worth the damage and relent.

One thing is for sure, at least two separate media outlets reporting that Gardner was the Senator behind this secret hold on a very popular bill most likely didn’t make it up. Combine that with Gardner’s refusal to clarify that he didn’t do it…

And you mostly likely know all you need to know.

Cory Gardner Embraces Trump for 2018 Help

Hey there, pal!

Readers of Colorado Pols are aware that Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is the 2018 Chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), which is a fancy way of saying that it is Gardner’s job to make sure that Republicans don’t lose control of the U.S. Senate this year. This has not gone well for Gardner, so it’s perhaps no surprise that he’ll be leaning on President Trump for help.

As Politico reports:

Even as fears grow within the GOP that Trump will cost Republicans the House, Senate Republicans say the president will play a starring role in the closely contested campaigns that will decide control of the chamber. Trump will be front and center in every state that helped elect the president, according to GOP senators and strategists, making the case that Democrats are hindering his agenda.

“If you look at a race in a state like Missouri or North Dakota — or any of these states — he’ll be very involved,” said Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, chairman of the GOP’s campaign arm, who speaks with Trump about political strategy regularly. “He’ll be actively campaigning for a Senate majority. Absolutely.”

Screeeechhhh…back up. Did you notice that part in the middle of Gardner’s quote?

Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, chairman of the GOP’s campaign arm, who speaks with Trump about political strategy regularly. [Pols emphasis]

Once upon a time, Gardner was fairly outspoken about Trump — at one point even declaring that he wouldn’t vote for Trump for President while calling for him to step aside as the GOP nominee. All that changed when it became clear that the big orange man would be moving into the White House; despite some some half-assed attempts to distance himself from the President, Gardner has generally made sure to pat him on the back as early and as often as possible.

Now, here we are, with Gardner apparently speaking with Trump “about political strategy regularly.” A cynic might say that Gardner is setting up Trump to take the fall for any Senate Republican losses in 2018. A more positive person would say that…

No, nevermind, that’s what’s happening here.

Hold Cory Gardner accountable and more ways to fight back this week (March 12)

Yesterday morning on CBS’ Meet the Press, Sen. Cory Gardner was exposed for doing something terrible.

Unbeknownst to anyone, several weeks ago Sen. Gardner had placed a secret hold on legislation to strengthen background checks on gun purchases. This is legislation sponsored by a Republican Senator from Texas in the wake of the horrific Sutherland Springs, TX mass shooting that left 26 people dead.

That’s right—the Senator from Colorado, the state home to Columbine, Aurora, and the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shooting, is single-handedly blocking common sense, bipartisan legislation to stop guns from getting into the wrong hands.

We didn’t know Cory Gardner was the one blocking this common-sense bipartisan bill until yesterday when he was confronted on live, national television. But he got caught. Over 90% of the public supports stronger background checks. Gardner has taken almost $4 million from the NRA and the gun lobby throughout his career, and now he is using his power as a Senator to secretly block a bill even the NRA claims to support.

Cory Gardner has betrayed every victim of gun violence, in Colorado and across America, with his cowardly attempt to block even the most rudimentary improvements in gun laws. Action item #1 this week: call Sen. Gardner at (202) 224-5941, and tell him to immediately release the hold on Sen. Cornyn’s background checks bill. And tell him his continuing refusal to protect Americans from gun violence will be remembered when he’s up for election again in 2020.

Thanks for taking quick action to hold Cory Gardner accountable. Once that’s done, here are many more great ways to make a difference for the week of March 12:


ACLU of Colorado: People Power at The Capitol

Join us for Lobby Day, March 14th at 8am. Talk to your elected representatives about the need to protect civil liberties in Colorado. Free continental breakfast and lunch provided. This event is free and open to the public.

Where: First Baptist Church of Denver, 1373 Grant St, Denver
When: Wednesday, March 14 at 8:00am

Click here to RSVP.


Enough! National School Walkout

Women’s March Youth EMPOWER is calling for students, teachers, school administrators, parents and allies to take part in a #NationalSchoolWalkout for 17 minutes at 10am across every time zone on March 14, 2018 to protest Congress’ inaction to do more than tweet thoughts and prayers in response to the gun violence plaguing our schools and neighborhoods. We need action. Students and allies are organizing the national school walkout to demand Congress pass legislation to keep us safe from gun violence at our schools, on our streets and in our homes and places of worship.

When: Wednesday, March 14 at 10:00am

Click here to RSVP.


Unity Across Struggles: A Black and Brown Conversation

Join this community conversation on how Latinos and African Americans in Denver might disrupt the status quo, smash the pattern of “fighting for the top of the bottom” and unify across struggles for shared political and economic power.

Where: Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus, 2121 Children’s Museum Drive, Denver
When: Wednesday, March 14 at 5:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


Colorado Jobs with Justice: The Hand that Feeds Documentary Screening

Join Colorado Jobs With Justice for a screening and discussion of “The Hand that Feeds,” the moving story of undocumented immigrants fighting to win a union at a bakery in New York. “Shy sandwich-maker Mahoma Lopez unites his undocumented immigrant coworkers to fight abusive conditions at a popular New York restaurant chain. The epic power struggle that ensues turns a single city block into a battlefield in America’s new wage wars.”

Where: Denver Post Auditorium 101 W. Colfax Ave. Denver
When: Wednesday, March 14 at 5:30pm

Click here to RSVP.


Jeffco Students United for Action: Jeffco #NeverAgain Rally

We would like to unite Jeffco together for a rally to demonstrate our unity in working together to end school violence. This rally is organized by Jeffco students and we are inviting ALL Jeffco students, staff and families to join us for a night of speakers, performers and action! We are inviting political officials and Jeffco school officials to come and hear our voices! After the rally we invite everyone to join us in taking action! We will have action tables where you can sign up to vote, write letters to your officials, write letters of encouragement to MSD and other schools affected by violence, film your #Whatif video and much more! Spread the word and join us!

Where: North Area Athletic Complex, 19500 W 64th Pkwy, Arvada
When: Wednesday, March 14 at 6:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


An Evening with Jeanette Vizguerra

The CU Denver Masters of Humanities/Masters of Social Science Program and Interdisciplinary Studies present the 3rd Annual Colorado Critical Interdisciplinary Speaker Series, featuring Jeanette Vizguerra, who Time Magazine named one of the “100 Most Influential People of 2017.” Ms. Vizguerra will deliver a talk about her life experiences in the United States entitled “Immigrant Mother and Leader in the Global Struggle to Keep Families Together”. This talk will be a bilingual event delivered in both English and Spanish, and it is free and open to the public.

Where: University of Colorado Denver, 1201 Larimer St., Denver
When: Wednesday, March 14 at 7:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


The Denver Press Club: State of Colorado v. Sessions

What does the recent announcement from AG Sessions to rescind the Cole memo mean for State regulated Cannabis companies here in Colorado, or one of the other 30 states in the union with decriminalization laws?

Where: The Denver Press Club, 1330 Glenarm Pl, Denver
When: Thursday, March 15 at 6:30pm

Click here to RSVP.


Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition: Open records/open meetings workshops and awards luncheon

Learn tools for shining a light on government from experts on the Colorado Open Records Act, the Colorado Criminal Justice Records Act, the Colorado Open Meetings Law and court access. Get White House insights from MSNBC political analyst Eli Stokols and help CFOIC honor state Sen. John Kefalas with the Sue O’Brien Award for Public Service. Longtime CFOIC board member Ruth Anna will be honored with the inaugural Ruth Anna Citizen Champion Award.

Where: Denver Scottish Rite Consistory, 1370 Grant St, Denver
When: Friday, March 16 at 9:00am

Click here to RSVP.


One Colorado: Spring 2018 Northern Colorado GSA Leadership Summit

The One Colorado GSA Network will be hosting the Northern Colorado GSA Leadership Summit on March 17th! At the 2018 Northern Colorado GSA Leadership Summit, we will share best practices for creating and supporting effective GSA programs and empowering lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer students to be leaders in their community. Students (middle school, high school, and college-aged), educators, and parents who are passionate about creating safe, inclusive learning environments are all welcome and encouraged to attend. This is a FREE event and this year’s theme is ‘It Starts With Us’ to remind us that we all have the power to make change in our community.

Where: CSU Lory Student Center, 500 University Ave, Fort Collins
When: Saturday, March 17 at 8:30am

Click here to RSVP.


Meet your Muslim Neighbors – Mosque Open House

What is Islam? Who are Muslims? Ask questions! get answers!

Where: Masjid AnNur, 2124 S Birch St, Denver
When: Saturday, March 17 at 2:30pm

Click here to RSVP.


Tell CO Lawmakers: Ban Bump Stocks – Support SB18-051

Ban bump stocks in Colorado! Join us at the Colorado Capitol, Rm. 357. Come to testify and support. Wear RED! You may come or leave at any time but should get there early to sign up if you plan on testifying! SB18-051 “Prohibit Multi-burst Trigger Activators” is the first bill on the docket and will be heard at 1:30. If you can, stay to testify against SB18-052 “Repeal Ammunition Magazine Prohibition.”

Where: Colorado State Capitol, 200 E Colfax Ave, Denver
When: Monday, March 19 at 1:30pm

Click here to RSVP.


Whether’s it’s holding Cory Gardner accountable in Washington or making sure our values are represented at the state capitol in Denver, thanks again for all your help week after week fighting back against the Trump and the far fight. We are on the right side of history, and we are winning. We’ll be back next week with more ways to take action.

WATCH NOW: Cory Gardner Withers Under Gun Questions

A short time ago, Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado appeared on CBS’ Face the Nation. Although most of the questions from today’s interview with Margaret Brennan focused on relations with North Korea following President Donald Trump’s confusing foreign policy announcements late last week, at the end of the interview Gardner was asked about his role–not previously reported–in blocking legislation sponsored by GOP Texas Sen. John Cornyn to strengthen background checks for firearms purchases. This is legislation Sen. Cornyn has been working on since the Sutherland Springs, Texas shooting last year that killed 26 people.

In the clip below, you can see something fairly amazing and rare: one of the slickest U.S. Senators flopping like a fish:

Transcript:

MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to quickly ask you about guns. Texas Senator John Cornyn has a bill proposing strengthening the background check system. Is it correct that you have put a hold on this? [Pols emphasis]

SEN. CORY GARDNER: I think there are some of us who are talking about due process issues in the bill and legislation. I’ve talked to Senator Cornyn and I hope that Senator Cornyn will realize that we need to work this due process matter out. This isn’t a issue of whether you like this or not, it’s a question of constitutional rights and protecting the people of this country, protecting them from harm —

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, you are blocking the bill for now? [Pols emphasis]

SEN. CORY GARDNER: — and, and making sure we’re protecting people from harm and making sure that we get this right and if there’s a constitutional issue at, at stake then that should be worked out.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But to clarify from your answer there. [Pols emphasis] Are you blocking this bill from the floor?

SEN. CORY GARDNER: This bill can come to the floor and we will continue to work through an amendment process and I hope that we can fix those amendments.

MARGARET BRENNAN: After you fix this bill you will allow it to go to the floor but not before this? [Pols emphasis]

SEN. CORY GARDNER: Well I think if we can have an, an amendment process that works to fix due process concerns real constitutional issues, then I hope that’s something that we can do. I hope that people who support this bill are interested, like all of us, in making sure we’re protecting the American people from harm.

MARGARET BRENNAN: All right. Senator Gardner, thank you very much for joining “Face the Nation.”

SEN. GARDNER: Thanks for having me. Thank you.

It’s technically true that Gardner never answered the question–but by the time it was asked a fourth time, he didn’t have to. Gardner has years of experience sticking to a tight script with the media, but there’s a point at which these repetitious non-answers become worse for Gardner than simply giving the answer everyone knows and he just doesn’t want to say. Yes, Cory Gardner, who has taken almost four million dollars from the National Rifle Association during his career in politics, is the one blocking a fellow Republican’s bill to strengthen gun background checks. A bill that over 90% of Americans want passed.

Gardner was not prepared to answer this question, even though he obviously should have been. This was an absolutely disastrous performance for the head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and a rare glimpse into the incredible behind-the-scenes power the NRA wields in Washington through people like Cory Gardner.

We know the answer to a very important question: why does gun safety legislation the public overwhelmingly supports never seem to become law, no matter how grisly the headlines from the latest mass shootings? No matter how unthinkably large the body counts have become at Las Vegas and Sutherland Springs and Parkland? No matter how many politicians in both parties agree it’s time to do something?

Cory Gardner just showed the world.

Yup, It Definitely Sucks to be Cory Gardner

Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) turns that smile upside down.

Burgess Everett of Politico picks up on a theme we’ve visited time and again here on Colorado Pols: It’s no fun to be Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma). Take a look at what Everett has to say in a story subtitled “The lonely existence of Cory Gardner”:

Senate Republican campaigns chief Cory Gardner might’ve had the easiest job in Washington — if only Hillary Clinton had won.

Instead, the centrist-minded Coloradan has found himself in one of the toughest predicaments in town: leading the Republican battalion in what’s instead shaping up as an anti-Trump Democratic wave election, while at the same time trying to cut legislative deals with some of the senators he’s campaigning hardest to defeat. Gardner is going to need bipartisan accomplishments to survive his own swing-state reelection race in 2020.

It’s not exactly what the sunny, glad-handing pol was signing up for when he put in for the job just before the 2016 election.

“He’s a brave man,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), a former National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman and now the party whip. “I admire him for being willing to take on the challenge.”

Talk about damning with faint praise — calling Gardner “brave” in a political sense is code for saying that he’s absolutely screwed.

Gardner campaigned hard to be the head guy at the NRSC at a time when it looked like Democrat Hillary Clinton was going to be President and Republicans would get to run against her for the next several years. The NRSC job was tantalizing enough that Gardner and North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis once proposed serving as co-chairs; Gardner ended up getting the job all to himself, and there probably isn’t a day that goes by where Tillis doesn’t say a silent prayer of thanks for how this all worked out.

Sen. Cory Gardner (left) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Associated Press)

Things have not gone well for Gardner since he first got the NRSC job in November 2016. We don’t really need to elaborate on why it has been tough to be a Republican since Donald Trump moved into the White House, but it’s important to note that longtime GOP supporters and donors have been just as upset with Congressional Republicans who only managed to pass a single piece of significant legislation in 2017 (a tax plan that Gardner doesn’t discuss). Gardner’s fundraising struggles have been well-documented, and he’s still trying to rebuild burned bridges after NRSC staffers were caught stealing donor lists from their counterparts at the National Republican Congressional Committee. Money has been so tight at the NRSC that Gardner has continually danced around the issue of giving back $100,000 from disgraced Nevada casino mogul Steve Wynn.

It’s telling that the normally-verbose Gardner is not exactly enthusiastic about Republican chances in 2018, as Politico explains:

Though Gardner never admits that his party’s prospects have declined due to Trump’s unpopularity and the failure to score top-tier candidates in states like Montana, he is realistic about the challenges he faces. When pressed on how many seats Republicans might be able to pick up, he does a brief impression of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, with his Kentucky drawl, saying that predicting Senate races is a fool’s errand.

“I would not [put a number]. I am optimistic about every single one of these races. Part of that is just because of who I am,” Gardner said, noting how rarely the GOP has built majorities of more than 55 seats in the past century. “We have to contend with history.” [Pols emphasis]

History will show that 2017 was a positively terrible year for Gardner, and 2018 isn’t looking much better. Gardner’s 25% approval rating demonstrates an erosion of support on all sides; the last public poll for Gardner showed that only 38% of Colorado Republicans approved of his performance.

Gardner isn’t up for re-election until 2020, but the 2018 election will go a long way toward determining what’s left of his political future.

Cory Gardner Will Do a Thing at Some Point

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) needs every last coin he can find for the NRSC.

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) made a regrettable appearance in a Huffington Post story on Tuesday about Republican confusion over what to do with money raised by former Republican National Committee (RNC) finance chair Steve Wynn, the casino magnate who has been accused of sexual assault and harassment by several women.

Nevada’s Gaming Control Board has reportedly launched an investigation into the assault/harassment claims against Wynn, who stepped down from his position with the RNC last weekend in the wake of a story from the Wall Street Journal documenting the accusations. Ronna McDaniel, the chairwoman of the RNC, said on Tuesday that the Republican Party would only return donations from Wynn “if he is found of any wrongdoing,” which is a consideration that Republicans didn’t seem to find important last year when they were crowing about political donations to Democrats from disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

But as bad as McDaniel’s comments on Wynn might appear, they are actually more well-thought out than the response given by Gardner:

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), who runs the group in charge of electing Republicans to the Senate, told MSNBC on Tuesday that he doesn’t know what his National Republican Senatorial Committee will do with the $100,000 Wynn has given them.

“We’ll make sure we do the appropriate action,” Gardner said.

When pressed, he said he still wasn’t sure what that was. [Pols emphasis]

It might seem rather trivial to equivocate on returning $100,000 from Wynn, but Gardner is having a heck of a lot of trouble wrangling checks for the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC).

They say you can’t put a price on integrity. But if you could, Gardner might suggest starting the bidding at six figures.

Police Union Nastygrams Cory Gardner Over DOJ Holds

Senator Cory Gardner (R).

A press release over the weekend from the National Fraternal Order of Police tears into Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado but good over his hold on nominees to the Department of Justice after Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded Obama-era guidance to U.S. Attorneys protecting marijuana commerce in states that have legalized:

The members of the Fraternal Order of Police are disappointed and very frustrated by the vow made by Senator Cory S. Gardner (R-CO) to hold up all nominees for vacant posts in the U.S. Department of Justice following the decision to rescind the Cole Memo and restore discretion to our nation’s U.S. Attorneys on investigations into violations of Federal drug laws involving marijuana.

Senator Gardner has come out swinging to defend the pot industry in his State. However, the fact that he believes Colorado can profit from the sale of this illegal drug does not give him the right to hold up or delay the appointment of critical personnel at the Justice Department. How can he justify putting at risk the public safety of all 50 States to advance the interests of the pot industry in his own?

The FOP has repeatedly made our concerns about current vacancies in the Justice Department and other key Administration posts known. Senator Gardner does a real disservice to the nation as a whole and we urgently ask him to reconsider his rash and ill-advised obstructionism.

Policy differences should be worked out by a dialogue and not turn into hostage situations. The ability of the Justice Department to carry out its nationwide mission should not be compromised by a single Senator trying to make it easier for business in his State to sell marijuana—an illegal drug as far as the Federal government is concerned.

After Sen. Gardner enjoyed no small amount of favorable local press for publicly throwing down in defense of marijuana with Sessions, this more recent backlash from the FOP hasn’t received nearly as much attention. One exception to that is conservative blogger and former GOP legislative staffer Dan Njegomir over at the former Colorado Statesman:

It’s usually a friend to the GOP, having endorsed Donald Trump for president in 2016, but the Fraternal Order of Police, the nation’s largest law-enforement [sic] labor union, has come out swinging at Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner. What’s the beef? Gardner’s vow to hold up nominees to the many vacant posts in the U.S. Justice Department after the Trump administration announced it was giving the department more leeway to crack down on pot-legalizing states like Colorado.

With Sen. Gardner’s support in polls quickly declining, perhaps most critically with base law-and-order Republicans who are generally speaking not big fans of the devil-weed, pressure on Gardner to fold on his nominee holds could become an interesting predicament for him. With Colorado’s U.S. Attorney having disarmed fears of an immediate crackdown on the retail marijuana industry following Sessions’ change of policy, though with plenty of uncertainty about the long term under the Trump administration remaining, Gardner may have taken an position that burns him no matter what he does next.

But remember, the promise Gardner made was not to the cops.

Cory Gardner Votes To Ban Abortion (Again)

That’s the word from Denver7’s Blair Miller:

Despite Sen. Cory Gardner’s vote in favor, legislation to ban most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy failed to obtain the necessary 60 votes to advance to a final vote in the U.S. Senate–thus effectively killing the bill after its passage last fall in the GOP-controlled House. A few red-state Democrats including West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin were put on record voting in favor of the bill, and a few others were made nominally uncomfortable after going on record against it in states where that could cost them some amount of support.

For Sen. Cory Gardner, today’s vote was just another opportunity to shamelessly burn everyone who covered for his stridently anti-abortion record during the 2014 elections. Endorsing Gardner in 2014, the Denver Post bemoaned the “tedious refrain” of Democrats warning about Gardner’s position on abortion, stating flatly that “Sen. Cory Gardner’s election would pose no threat to abortion rights.”

Safe to say that prediction did not age well.