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Two “balls” on tap to celebrate Trump inauguration

(It’s time to get your Trump on! – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

deplorables ball 2-2017

Deplorables Ball 2Colorado Republicans will celebrate Trump’s inauguration at two “balls,” one a $110 formal “black-tie-optional” affair with Champagne and the other a $35 “deplorables” event with “hot appetizers.”

The fancier event, sponsored by, among others, Colorado State Treasurer Walker Stapleton, takes place Saturday at 6. p.m. at the Denver Marriott Tech Center.

The event is also “hosted by your friends” Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman and Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams.

Coffman and Stapleton are both mentioned frequently as potential 2018 GOP gubernatorial candidates.

The second celebration, a more down-scale event called the “Deplorables Inaugural Ball”and sponsored by KNUS 710-AM, takes place tomorrow at 7 p.m. at the Proof Night Club on East Hampden Ave.

“Calling all deplorables!!!!!” reads the Eventbrite description of the event, noting that participants must be 21 years old, which means I can’t send my intern.

Trump Makes Final Cabinet Choice Hours Before Inauguration

President Donald Trump has finally nominated someone for every cabinet position.

At this time yesterday, soon-to-be-President Donald Trump had selected someone for all but one top-level cabinet post. As the Huffington Post reports, Trump made his final big “You’re Hired” announcement Thursday evening:

President-elect Donald Trump named Sonny Perdue, the former Republican governor of Georgia who famously prayed for rain during a 2007 drought, to lead the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Thursday

“Sonny Perdue is going to accomplish great things as Secretary of Agriculture,” Trump said in a statement. “From growing up on a farm to being governor of a big agriculture state, he has spent his whole life understanding and solving the challenges our farmers face, and he is going to deliver big results for all Americans who earn their living off the land.”

Perdue’s nomination comes less than 48 hours before Trump’s inauguration ceremony and completes the president-elect’s proposed Cabinet, which does not include a Hispanic member. Reports of the nomination circulated Wednesday night…

…Perdue, 70, is well known for leading a prayer service at the state Capitol in Georgia in hopes of bringing an end to a 2007 drought.

Jared Polis Attending Trump’s Inauguration and The Protest, Too

Rep. Jared Polis (D).

As the Fort Collins Coloradoan’s Nick Coltrain reports:

U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet and Rep. Jared Polis still plan to attend President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration Friday, even as almost 50 of their Democratic congressional colleagues plan to boycott the event…

Polis and Bennet both stumped for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in the fall. Polis has vowed to fight many of Trump’s proposals and said he would register as a Muslim in protest if Trump followed through with plans for a religion-based registry.

Polis will attend the inauguration “out of a respect for our democracy and the peaceful transition of power,” spokesperson Jessica Bralish told the Coloradoan. He will also join the Women’s March on Washington the day after “to display the importance of holding the Trump Administration accountable,” she said.

This seems like a good way to split the difference. The fact is that peaceful transfers of power to and from opposing political factions is a time-honored and very important component of the American political system. Even with a candidate as controversial and divisive as Donald Trump, there’s an understandable pull on lawmakers to honor the system if not, you know, the man. Your mileage may vary, but we can’t bring ourselves to disparage Democrats who make the choice to follow protocol on Friday.

On the other hand, we wouldn’t want to miss the fun on Saturday.

“Core group” of Trump campaign supporters celebrate Trump’s “Year of Greatness”

(You’ve gotta fight–for your right–to paaaaarty! – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Many of Colorado’s top supporters of the 2016 Trump Campaign, including Colorado lawmakers Tim Neville (R-Littleton) and Kim Ransom (R-Lone Tree), gathered at 11:30 a.m. Saturday in Lone Tree to celebrate the a one year anniversary of Trump’s inauguration.

“It was just a really great gathering of a core group of people who supported the Trump campaign in Colorado,” said Dede Laugesen, who was coalitions director for the Trump campaign in Colorado. “We were happy to spend some time together again, celebrating a year of greatness in our eyes, at the hour of power.”

The “hour of power” refers to the 11:30 a.m. time of Saturday’s party, which was when Trump was sworn into office.

Partick Davis, Colorado’s Trump Campaign Director in 2016, trumpeted the party on Facebook, writing that he’d been “celebrating one year of #MAGA with my fellow deplorables in Denver.”

One of Davis’ fellow deplorables at Saturday’s event was Steve Barlock, who was co-chair of Trump’s Colorado Campaign and is currently a gubernatorial candidate. Other notables at the party included Robert Blaha, who worked on the Colorado Trump Campaign, Brita Horn, who’s running for state treasurer, former Colorado GOP Chair Steve House, Littleton State Sen. Neville, and Lone Tree Rep. Ransom, according to Laugesen, who said about 100 people attended the party.

“I personally am celebrating a year of a U.S. president putting Americans first, creating opportunities for business in our booming economy,” said Laugesen. “Jobs and the stock market are booming. Businesses overseas are bringing jobs home. As a mom of a bunch boys, I’m looking to a very bright future for them as a result of Trump.”

The event cost $35 at the door, which covered lunch, but it was not a fundraiser or “campaign jam fest,” according to the Facebook invitation.

“This is a PARTY,” the invitation stated. “We are going to CELEBRATE! There is SO, SO much to celebrate. It is Big. Big. #MAGA #T4CO.”


In anti-Trump stand, Beverly Belles won’t perform at El Paso County GOP fundraiser

After the Beverly Belles, a group of Andrews-Sisters-style singers, rejected his offer to play at a GOP fundraiser, Joshua Hosler, who’s the newly elected leader of the El Paso County Republican Party, tweeted:

“We asked The Beverly Belles to play an event. They declined b/c they don’t like Trump. No problem. We support their right to choose clients!”

I asked Julia Tobey, who owns the Beverly Belles, why she didn’t want to perform for Hosler’s group.

She looked at group’s website, she told me, and found recordings of Trump officials praising El Paso Republicans. In one voice mail on the website, Donald Trump, Jr., called from “corporate headquarters in New York” to tell the regional field director in the El Paso GOP office that “my father really appreciates” his work, “the family gets it,” and “we’re going to win this thing.”

Tobey said she and her organization, which is based in Denver and Los Angeles, “in no way support Donald Trump” and would not want it to appear as if they were helping raise money for him.

“Since Trump moved into the White House, I am most saddened by his aggressive attack on the rights of our African-American, Muslim, Mexican, LGBTQ, immigrant and refugee American brothers and sisters,” Tobey emailed me, emphasizing that she was speaking for herself and not all the members of her company. “I feel called to stand up and actively support these minorities.

“And also, as a female-run organization, we would never choose to support a president who has a history of blatant sexism and actions that objectify and degrade women. We are heartbroken he has actively pursued policies to strip women of hard-earned rights to make choices about our own bodies and do not support him or his administration in any way.

Asked about the Beverly Belles, the GOP’s Hosler said they are “extremely talented,” and he would definitely have enjoyed their performance, having listened to their style of music as a kid with his grandfather.

But he’s not mad at them, because he supports their right to say, no thank you. “We are a party of liberty and freedom, and it’s their right to choose,” he said.

I told Hosler that I thought his tweet seemed intended to equate the decision of the Beverly Belles not to play at a Republican fundraiser with the Colorado baker who discriminated against a gay couple by refusing to make them a wedding cake.

That wasn’t the “original intent” of his tweet, which was aimed to promote liberty, he said.

Still, he said, “I can see the direct correlation. That is clearly something that was parallel.”

In fact, the baker violated Colorado law by discriminating against gay people, who are protected under Colorado’s Public Accommodations statute. Just as a shop like a bakery can’t discriminate based on race or sex.  But a baker has the right to refuse service to people of either sex who love Obama for political reasons.

As Republican John Suthers, who served as Colorado’s attorney general, said on the radio a few years ago:

And so in Colorado, essentially, sexual orientation has essentially the same protection as race in terms of anti-public discrimination laws.

So, if you have a business, whether it be a motel business, restaurant business, cake shop, and hold yourself out to the public, you must abide by this public accommodations law. And in this case, it was alleged, that a gay couple who’d been married in another state, wanted to have a celebration in Colorado, went into this cake shop, were very frank with the owner about what they wanted to do, and he refused to bake them a cake, despite the fact that they could have walked a blocked and got the cake at another bake store….it does appear this individual violated the public accommodations law, so the case was brought.

As for the event for which Hosler hoped to book the Beverly Belles, it is scheduled for Oct. 27, billed as a Monte Carlo evening. Hosler described it as a “fun fundraiser” without political speeches that “put everyone to sleep.”

“It wasn’t a fundraiser for Trump,” said Hosler. “He wouldn’t get any of the money.”

But didn’t El Paso Republicans help elect Trump and would do so again?

“We are in theory connected to Trump,” Hosler said. “Trump is a Republican, and we are pushing the Republican Party. So in a sense we are building his base of support, but it does not directly support him. It supports the Party.”

The Beverly Belles, of course, not are the only performing artists who’ve rejected Trump-related events.

The list of performers who said they wouldn’t perform at the Trump inauguration included Garth Brooks, Elton John, and Celine Dion.

The Rockettes made it voluntary for their dancers to perform at Trump’s inauguration, after an outcry from some members of the troupe.

In the video below, Tobey and other performers discuss their work–and sing.

Denver To Trump: Back Off Man, We Like Science

Denver Post reporting, but you were probably there from the look of it:

Thousands of scientists and science supporters joined the March For Science through downtown Denver Saturday in the city’s largest rally since the Women’s March in January.

In cities across the globe — as close as Boulder and as far away as Washington D.C. and a German scientific enclave in Antarctica — marchers showed support for evidence-based and science-based public policy, protested potential cuts to federally-funded research and expressed disappointment with the White House’s response to climate change…

Marchers were a mix of younger and older people who traveling from across Colorado, including Boulder, Durango and Bailey. Some were scientists and teachers while others were students and science enthusiasts.

The Colorado Independent’s Kelsey Ray:

President Donald Trump has been notably outspoken against climate change and environmental research. His budget blueprint, essentially a wish list for budget boosts and cuts, proposed slashing EPA funding by 30 percent and reducing funds for environmental research agencies like the National Oceanic and Environmental Administration.

In the lead-up to the march, numerous editorials questioned the premise of scientists acting as activists. Is there a place in science for activism? Should scientists speak about political issues? Perhaps fearful of backlash and further cuts, most government-funded research agencies have forbid their employees from talking about politics.

Many of those at the march, particularly the career scientists, had considered these questions. But they ultimately decided that recent political attacks on climate science were too worrisome not to show up.

We haven’t seen a reliable crowd estimate for yesterday’s march in Denver, but it was certainly in the tens of thousands, and as reported easily the biggest protest march since the Women’s March held a day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration. Much like the Women’s March, we’ve seen some attempts by Trump supporters to argue the march had no specific target, and that Trump supporters would have had as much reason to attend a March for Science as anybody else.

Against the backdrop of Trump’s huge proposed cuts to federal scientific research of all kinds, and especially research into climate change, this notion is preposterous–as much as claiming the Women’s March wasn’t a direct result of the fact that a man who bragged about sexual assault is now President of the United States. Here in Colorado, home to such a large number of critical federal scientific research facilities, we know very well what the threat is, and who is behind it.

And it looks like the whole rest of the world knows, too.

Did Russiagate Kill The Denver Pro-Trump Rally?

Pro-Trump rally, 2/27/17.

Last Monday, a pro-President Donald Trump “Spirit of America” rally was held on the steps of the Colorado state capitol building–the first of two such long-planned and widely-publicized pro-Trump gatherings, intended to answer over a month of huge protests against the new President.

As and we could have predicted, Trump’s rally in the middle of a busy weekday failed to thrive.

After a decidedly lackluster turnout for Monday’s event, we were told to expect a far greater crowd the following Saturday (yesterday), when the silent majority of Trump supporters who presumably had to work or were otherwise unavailable Monday would be able to turn out in droves. Surely Saturday, March 4th, a weekend day of absolutely perfect shirt-sleeve weather, would be the day that Trump’s America showed themselves triumphantly to the world.

But as you can see above and Denver7’s Oscar Contreras reports, not so much!

Billed as the “Spirit of America” rally, demonstrators – many wearing the iconic “Make America Great Again” red cap — gathered at the west steps of the State Capitol at around 10 a.m.

Holding U.S. flags and dressed in patriotic attire, demonstrators brought out signs – both small and large — supporting the embattled president…

The local rally, which saw between 300 to 500 supporters — according to estimates provided by the Colorado State Patrol — was just one of many happening across the nation. [Pols emphasis]

So if Monday’s rally was attended by an estimated 100-200 people, there’s just no way that 300-500 people showing up on a perfect Saturday can be considered anything other than a massive failure for local Republicans. It is in fact a considerably worse showing than we expected for yesterday’s event, given what they produced on Monday versus what could be legitimately expected on a weekend. After some 200,000 marched against Trump in Denver on the day after his inauguration, and numerous subsequent events against both Trump and high-ranking Colorado Republicans like Sen. Cory Gardner that have drawn thousands of people, these pitiful pro-Trump rallies have done more harm than good for the GOP’s public image.

Of course, there’s an immediate reaction from GOP sympathizers to claim some kind of cultural difference between conservatives and liberals that makes conservatives less likely to turn out to protest events. But that wasn’t the case in 2009, when Tea Party activists besieged Democrats across America in advance of an historic “GOP wave” election in 2010. And it certainly wasn’t the case when Trump was drawing his famously massive crowds to campaign rallies coast to coast last year.

It’s not easy to explain the embarrassing lack of public support for Trump evidenced at yesterday’s little rally, even in a place like Colorado that voted to elect his opponent. Given the bounce everyone rushed to give Trump after his address to Congress last Tuesday, there was at least momentary reason for organizers to be hopeful. But by Friday, with the headlines already back on the Trump administration’s ballooning crisis over Russian influence in the 2016 election, it was as if Trump’s lavishly-praised speech Tuesday never even happened.

Maybe it’s time to, you know, stop pretending.

Gardner has had “number of great conversations” with Trump

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Asked by a conservative radio host this morning to “characterize his current relationship with President Trump and his team” and whether Gardner was a “persona non grata,” U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) said:

Gardner: “Oh, I’ve had a number of great conversations with the President. The opportunities to work together are real. He is very, very clear that he wants us to be successful in Colorado and that we have the chance to do things that will make our state a better, stronger place.”

Gardner’s warm comments about Trump come as the President is battling journalists and after weeks of protests in Colorado against both Trump’s actions and against Gardner himself for backing Trump and voting with him 100 percent of the time.

Told by KNUS 710-AM host Craig Silverman that citizens are “clamoring for a town-hall meeting” and protesting, Gardner did not indicate he’ll hold town hall meetings, as requested by citizens who’ve jammed Gardner’s phone lines since Trump took office.

“We’ll continue to reach out across Colorado through meetings and offers to have appointments throughout the eight offices we have in the state–and also making sure we’re reaching out via tele-town halls,” said Gardner, adding that it is “great that people are interested.”

“Tele-town halls provide us with a great way to reach thousands of Coloradans at one time instead of just five or 10 at one time,” said Gardner.

Republicans across the country are turning to tele-town halls, instead of actual town hall meetings, where they’ve been greeted by large numbers of citizens upset about Obamacare, cabinet selections, Planned Parenthood cuts, and more. Images of large crowds and defensive lawmakers have viralized across social media.

Gardner has apparently been irked by some of the protests he’s faced, labeling callers and protesters as hailing from California and New York and as being “paid,” with some hired via CraigsList or tricked into calling via computers and surveys.

Asked if Gardner has the kind of relationship with the President that allows Garder to “kid around with Trump,” Gardner told Silverman, “Oh, absolutely.”

“I think it was on television even, on Tuesday, before the inauguration, the president introduced me to a crowd and talked about being able to work together for the common good of Colorado,” said Gardner on air. “And that’s something we will continue to do.”

“Overall, we have got to make sure that we to come together as a country the way [Trump] talked about on i guess it was Wednesday, November 9, after the Election,” Gardner said.

“You always leave me in a good mood,” Silverman told Gardner at the end of the interview, asking that the Republican to remember him to his family.

Large Protest in Downtown Denver Marks Inauguration Day

The big protest against President Donald Trump’s inauguration here in Denver is still scheduled for tomorrow morning in Civic Center Park, but as FOX 31’s Chuck Hickey reports, a more spontaneous demonstration today broke out before Trump took the oath of office this morning:

Protesters converged on the State Capitol and took the streets of downtown Denver on Friday morning to denounce the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States.

Several people were on the west steps at the Capitol. An 8 a.m. protest by DisruptDJ20 and a 9 a.m. protest by another group merged, along with students who walked out of East High School and marched down East Colfax Avenue.

One group said it planned to try to block traffic during rush hour, while another is calling for peaceful chanting and marching, saying they don’t want agitators.

That event shows close to 2,000 people attending with 5,000 interested.

Denver Post:

Hundreds of protesters — led by a front line of young, racially diverse and mostly female people — wound through downtown Denver Friday morning, carrying cash-leaking effigies of President Donald Trump and waving signs mourning the loss of civility, ethics and compassion and calling out threats to civil rights…

Most protesters marched peacefully, waving their signs and chanting. A few tried — unsuccessfully — to incite violence. No arrests or injuries were reported, said Doug Schepman, a Denver police spokesman.

It’s a good sign for tomorrow’s events that today’s less-organized protests remained peaceful. Organizers of the Women’s March are forecasting some 36,000 attendees based on social media signups–a number that could go higher if the weather holds. As of now, it’s set to be brisk but only partly cloudy in Denver tomorrow.

Watch this space for updates as warranted throughout the weekend.

Donald Trump is Officially the 45th President of the United States

President Donald Trump speaks at his Inauguration Ceremony.

Well, this is really happening. As the Washington Post reports:

Donald John Trump was sworn in Friday as the 45th president of the United States, taking office on a day that has featured smaller crowds and more subdued ceremony than previous inaugurations — but still ushers in a transformative shift in the country’s leadership.

Trump, 70, was administered the oath by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. His wife Melania Trump stood at his side. The oath was given using two Bibles — one from President Lincoln’s inauguration, and another that Trump’s mother gave him in 1955.

Trump began his inaugural address by proclaiming that with his victory, “the United States of America is your country.” With now former president Obama and three previous presidents watching from behind him, Trump seemed to condemn them as unfaithful to the popular will, saying that his inauguration signaled that “the people” would rule the country again.

And off we go…

Trump backer announces bid for GOP state chair

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

George Athanasopoulos.

George Athanasopoulos.

After an unsuccessful bid to unseat U.S Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), George Athanasopoulos announced this morning that he’ll be running to be Colorado Republican chair.

Athanasopoulos, who was an early Trump backer, made the announcement on KNUS 710-AM’s early morning show, hosted by Peter Boyles, who was also a loud Trump supporter.

The current GOP chair, Steve House, plans to finish his term and will decide in January whether to seek another one.

“My term ends in March and I will serve out my term completely and a decision on whether I run again or not will be made between January 1st and inauguration day,” House told me via email.

Boyles inaccurately alleged on air that House has announced that he’d not run again.

“I watched Steve House lead the walkout on Trump,” said Boyles, referring to the GOP national convention in Cleveland. “Now, you wonder why the state of Colorado is blue.”

In fact, House not only did not lead the walk out, he participate in it at all.


Congressional Democrats Must Resist Trump

I’ve given a lot of thought to this, and I need to say what I think.  Democrats in Congress should do everything in their power to resist and subvert everything Donald Trump wants to do as President of the United States.  No reaching across the aisle.  No bipartisanship.  No compromise on anything, no matter how good it may seem on the surface.  And here’s why.

First of all, that is exactly what congressional Republicans did to President Obama for eight years. And while I didn’t always agree with all of his decisions and positions on issues, I always knew him to be a good and decent man who always had the best interests of our country first and foremost in his mind and, more importantly, in his heart. Yet, according to the PBS program, “Frontline,” on the night of President Obama’s first inauguration in January of 2009 a group of Republican leaders, including now-Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, met in a Washington steakhouse to discuss how to deal with the new Obama administration.  After three hours of strategizing, they decided they needed to fight Obama on everything.  Their goal was clear, to delegitimize the first African-American President, ensure his failure, and limit him to one term.

I believe Donald Trump is not only unfit to be our President, but that, at his core, he is a bad person.  I don’t believe for one minute that he has the best interests of our country in mind, but that he puts his own personal interests, and those of his family first and foremost.  His ideas are vague for a reason.  He wants to be able to change them at will if it serves his own purpose.  I don’t believe he has the best interests of our country in his heart because I don’t believe he listens to his heart.  He appears to me to be a greedy sociopath who will stop at nothing to get what he wants regardless of who he steps on in the process.

Beginning today and continuing for the next four years, I plan to be contacting my members of Congress on a regular basis, in writing, by phone and in person to urge them to resist everything that Mr. Trump and his allies in Congress, Republican and Democrat, want to do.  Compromising with him in the spirit of “bipartisanship” will only serve to legitimize his Presidency.  He doesn’t deserve that kind of recognition.  As I said before, I believe him to be a fraud and a fundamentally bad person.

I have one last point to make.  I believe that sometime in the near future, Mr. Trump will do something so flagrant that constitutes an “impeachable offense.”  When that happens, I hope that Democrats in Congress refrain from getting on the impeachment train and, instead, put the onus of charging him, trying him, and removing him from office strictly on the backs of the Republican members of Congress.  The Republican Party created Donald Trump.  They nominated Donald Trump.  They elected Donald Trump.  And it should be on them to take responsibility for the damage that he inevitably creates without any help from their “friends across the aisle.”

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (March 20)

Hello, Springtime! It’s time to Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.



► The suspect in a school shooting in Maryland is believed to be dead, but not before he was able to seriously wound two students at a rural high school in the southern part of the state. CNN has more on the 17th school shooting of 2018.

Here in Colorado, Senate Republicans continue to fight against any effort at reducing gun violence. On Monday a Senate committee defeated legislation to ban “bump stocks.”


► New revenue forecasts for the State of Colorado have lawmakers on both sides of the aisle writing checks in their minds. As Brian Eason reports for the Denver Post:

The two quarterly revenue forecasts released Monday by the governor’s office and the Colorado Legislative Council both project a significant boost to tax collections this fiscal year and next, leaving the state with more than $500 million more to spend than economists expected during the most recent forecasts three months ago.

The March forecasts take on special significance, because they are the numbers that state lawmakers will use in crafting the 2018-19 state budget, which the Joint Budget Committee is expected to finish drafting as soon as this week.

The political fight that lies ahead is unlike any that lawmakers have encountered since before the Great Recession. After years of difficult decisions on what public services to cut, budget writers this year instead have to decide which item on their wish list gets the biggest boost. And lawmakers and interest groups wasted no time Monday offering their two cents on how the money should be spent.


► House Speaker Paul Ryan says that he has received “assurances” that President Trump won’t try to fire special counsel Robert Mueller.


► Colorado Senate Republicans have taken a ridiculous new step in their ongoing efforts to ignore sexual harassment problems in their own caucus. Republican State Senator Beth Martinez Humenik filed an official complaint against Democratic Senator Daniel Kagan alleging that Kagan used an unmarked women’s restroom in the State Capitol.


Get even more smarter after the jump…