Scott Tipton Won’t Do Squat About Gun Violence

Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Cortez)

Congressman Scott Tipton (R-Cortez) was a guest on “Politics Unplugged” on Denver7 last weekend. Late in the interview, Denver7 host Anne Trujillo tried to ask Tipton several questions about how Congress plans to address the issue of gun violence and got absolutely nowhere with the CO-3 Republican.

You can watch the entire interview below, but here’s the relevant pablum on gun violence:

TRUJILLO: Do you think Congress has a role in addressing gun violence? What would that be?

TIPTON: I think, uh, as a society we have an obligation to be able to deal with this. The one issue that I hope to have a lot more conversation on…

[TIMEOUT!] We’d bet $1,000 that he says “mental health” next. Any takers?

TIPTON: …I just had a few visits earlier today with people in regards to mental health…

Somebody owes us $1,000! Let’s continue…

TIPTON: As a society, what did we do that was so wrong that all of a sudden this becomes an outlet? To be able to have these mass tragedies that are going on when they never, ever used to happen before, and we had guns, uh, that were there. [Pols emphasis] So, a lot of mental health issues, talking to our families in terms of awareness of issues, and building that family structure again.

The Columbine High School massacre took place in April 1999. We understand that Tipton is 700 years old, but there are entire generations of Americans who have absolutely no experience living in a time when mass shootings “never, ever used to happen before.”

Also, we need to build “that family structure again.” Whatever that means. Look, squirrel!

TRUJILLO: And how do you feel about background checks?

TIPTON: You know, here in Colorado we have the universal background checks. I always want to be able to look…speculation in terms of what’s always in legislation, to be able to look at. None of us want to be able to have guns in the hands of people who shouldn’t have them…

TL;DR: Scott Tipton does not support background checks.

TRUJILLO: So, ‘red flag’? Where do you view that…

TIPTON: So, ‘red flag’ needs to be sure that it’s always protecting also something that is integral to the American system, and that’s called ‘due process.’ To make sure that you don’t have somebody just assign something, and you pay a consequence, and have to prove yourself innocent, if you will, to be able to address that. [Pols emphasis]

Please, tell us more about this “due process” thing, Congressman.

If we’re worried about consequences, how about we consider the people who get shot and killed by someone with an assault rifle when they are just minding their own business shopping or going to school? That’s seems like an unfair consequence for doing absolutely nothing wrong.

TRUJILLO: So, are you prepared to address any changes in our gun laws right now?

TIPTON: You know, we’ll see. We’re having conversations currently. We’re in, you know, what’s called the ‘August break,’ the recess for Congress to be out. There are a couple of pieces of legislation that are being discussed in a tentative fashion right now until we get back to Washington. And, uh, it’s always important to be able to look at the legislation and to be able to see where there is an appropriate role to play.

See, Anne, we’re in what they call an “August break,” which means that I don’t have to even pretend to be considering legislation to curb gun violence. But if people are still talking about gun legislation when I get done with this “August break,” there’s a decent chance that I’ll read at least some of those bills. In the meantime, are there any other terms that I can mansplain for you?

TRUJILLO: So you’re willing to consider changes?

TIPTON: Huh? Wha…I think we all want to make sure that we are ending gun violence in this country. This should not happen. We ought to be able to go to our schools, to our shopping areas, and also to be able to be safe in our homes. And to be able to protect the Second Amendment. [Pols emphasis]

Yada, yada, yada, Second Amendment.

This epidemic of gun violence absolutely “should not happen.” But it does. Scott Tipton isn’t going to do a damn thing to stop it, but he is going to trot around the topic as long as he can. Heck, even Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) eventually stops dancing enough to say, “I don’t support gun control.”

We’ve said it over and over and over again: If we really want to see movement on curbing gun violence, we’re going to have to elect different people.

 

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Oh, No Joe! Fox 31 Reporter Falls Hard for Gardner Scam

UPDATE #2: 9NEWS’ Kyle Clark masticates and spits the pitiful spin:

Pretty much exactly this, folks.

—–

UPDATE: As an eagle-eyed reader points out, there are 69 total events listed in the Fox 31/KDVR story…including at least 6 8 9 duplicates and one birthday party. Here are those duplicates listed side-by-side:

Colorado State Fair Parade – Pueblo – Pueblo
State Fair Parade

Legislative BBQ – Pueblo – Pueblo
Legislative BBQ

Meeting with Pueblo GOP Women – Pueblo – Pueblo
Pueblo Republican Women Meet and Greet

Foothills GOP event – Littleton – Jefferson
Foothills Republican BBQ

Teller County GOP Event – Woodland Park – Teller
Big Tent Event- Teller County

Picnic – Golden – Jefferson
HD 23/24 Picnic

Larimer County GOP Meet and Greet – Fort Collins – Larimer
Larimer County GOP Meet and Greet

Boulder County GOP Meet and Greet – Boulder – Boulder
Boulder County GOP Meet and Greet

GOP Meet and Greet – Aspen – Pitkin
Pitkin GOP Meet and Greet

And here is the “birthday party”:

Gardner Birthday Party in Yuma

How is this a “public event?” In lieu of gifts, bring policy questions!

—–

Sen. Cory Gardner (top left), Fox 31 Reporter Joe St. George, and piles of Nigerian gold

Most people fundamentally understand that they are unlikely to receive millions of dollars worth of gold in exchange for the low, low price of $1,000. Yet the Nigerian Prince/Letter scam — also known as “419” fraud or an “advance-fee scam” — remains in existence more than a decade after it first appeared because it still works often enough to be profitable. Last year alone, Americans were bilked out of at least $700,000 after responding to an unsolicited email message from a mysterious “Nigerian prince.”

Sadly, this sort of scam also works in politics from time to time. Today Joe St. George of Fox 31 News bit embarrassingly hard on a ridiculous bit of spin from the office of Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) that other news outlets have already dismissed as nonsense. Be prepared to cringe:

If you are a follower of #copolitics on social media you have likely seen the accusation that Senator Cory Gardner is hiding.

“Cardboard Cory” is a popular meme on Twitter with Democrats accusing Gardner of not taking questions from constituents.

While Gardner has not hosted a large scale townhall in Denver this year — featuring widespread publicity in advance like other GOP candidates have done over the years– Gardner is not in hiding.

A review of Senator Gardner’s schedule shows he has actually hosted more than 50 events throughout the state in August — giving the candidate for reelection in 2020 a chance to interact with thousands of Coloradoans.

Oh, boy. St. George goes on to list a full page of “events” in which Gardner supposedly appeared in public during the month of August. Team Gardner tried this exact spin with the Greeley Tribune last week but were rebuffed:

In fact, the Gardner office informed the Greeley Tribune on Tuesday afternoon the real Gardner would be in Greeley that very same day, touring a pair of food production facilities in town. The public was not invited to either event, but the newspaper was invited, without cameras, to join the senator as he toured Hungenberg Produce. [Pols emphasis]

A few days after this story appeared, the editorial board of the Greeley Tribune reaffirmed Gardner’s inaccessibility:

…it’s also true Gardner has been largely absent during the past five years when it comes to being available for his constituents, to whom he needs to be accountable.

His own office couldn’t even recall his last appearance in a town hall-like setting. Instead, they provided the Tribune a list of events Gardner had appeared at in the past few months, most of which were private or were the sort of public appearances, like walking tours, that don’t actually give voters the kind of access the “Cardboard Cory” folks have been asking for. [Pols emphasis]

Walking tours provide a great photo opportunity, but they don’t allow constituents to directly interact with Gardner, and that’s especially true when the tour hasn’t been advertised or put on some kind of schedule to which the public has access.

That’s what the “Cardboard Cory” tour is really seeking, scheduled events at which they have direct access to their Senator. We don’t think that’s an unreasonable expectation.

Team Gardner also managed to fool Shaun Boyd of CBS4 Denver into reporting about the Senator’s non-existent “town hall” events, but at least Boyd’s inaccurate mention was a throwaway line at the end of a separate story.

What is doubly weird about this blunder by St. George is that he appeared to know better. Just last week we praised St. George in this space for conducting an interview with Gardner in which he specifically asked the Senator about why he was refusing to hold public events. Now, just 10 days later, St. George is carrying a completely different message on Gardner’s behalf.

It’s inexplicable…and quite embarrassing.

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Gardner Growing Nervous About Trade War, Farmer Backlash

Well, look, if I wasn’t doing everything in my power to help farmers, then why would I be posing in front of a bunch of tractors?

American farmers are mad.

“I couldn’t vote for him. I have to protect my business,” Ohio soybean farmer Christopher Gribbs told CNBC earlier this month. Gribbs voted for Trump in 2016 and was once part of the President’s midwestern base, but no longer. “The geopolitical problems that we have with the Trump tariffs have weighed on market confidence and the market just can’t move.”

Trump’s trade war is costing American farmers BIGLY — and they’re going to be returning the favor in 2020; a survey from Farm Journal found that Trump’s support from farmers has dropped to 71 percent. As the New York Times explains:

More than a year into the trade dispute, sales of American soybeans, pork, wheat and other agricultural products to China have dried up as Beijing retaliates against Mr. Trump’s tariffs on Chinese imports. Lucrative contracts that farmers long relied on for a significant source of income have evaporated, with Chinese buyers looking to other nations like Brazil and Canada to get the commodities they need. Farm bankruptcy filings in the year through June were up 13 percent from 2018 and loan delinquency rates are on the rise, according to the American Farm Bureau.

The predicament of farmers is becoming a political problem for Mr. Trump as he heads into an election year. For months, farmers have remained resolute, continuing to pledge support to a president who says his trade policies will help the agricultural industry win in the end. While there are few signs of an imminent blue wave in farm country, a growing number of farmers say they are losing patience with the president’s approach and are suggesting it will not take much to lose their vote as well. [Pols emphasis]…

Via The New York Times (8/27/19)

President Trump’s trade war with China has farmers speaking out with increasing levels of anger. You can tell that these concerns are getting through to Republican lawmakers, because Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is now pretending that he is riding to the rescue (spoiler alert: Nope). In a recent interview with Bente Birkeland of Colorado Public Radio (CPR), Gardner said some words:

“It is tough for businesses to plan and that’s why we need to have a resolution. And that’s why I have from day one even before, long before they went into effect said ‘Hey, you can’t do this. Don’t move forward on this,'” Gardner said. “And that’s why I support efforts to take that power back by Congress.”

Say what? If Gardner has said any of these things “from day one,” he has said them under his breath. The only thing Gardner has really said publicly is that tariffs are “a bad idea,” and he has repeatedly demurred when pressed for specifics.

As we all know, Gardner doesn’t push back against Trump on anything. There are a number of Republican Senators who have strongly opposed the Trump tariffs, but Gardner is most certainly not among them. Here’s what Gardner actually said about the tariffs earlier this summer, via Marianne Goodland of the Colorado Springs Gazette:

Gardner told Bloomberg News Monday that tariffs are “a bad idea, plain and simple.” His office declined to comment about whether his opposition would include any efforts to overturn the President’s authority under IEEPA. [Pols emphasis]

And this from Politico (June 7, 2019):

Several Republican senators are warning the president they would vote to overturn the new levies, though Gardner has not explicitly said he would go that far. [Pols emphasis]

You’re really giving him the business, Senator!

There’s Cory!

This has been the extent of Gardner’s “opposition.” He won’t even hint that he might support legislation to curb Trump’s tariff powers. But now that farmers are finally getting fed up, Gardner is putting inserts in his shoes to look taller.

Here’s more of Gardner’s pablum from Colorado Public Radio:

GARDNER: That’s why I oppose the tariffs, and that’s why I continued to try to find a solution that involves more trade opportunities, a more open trade without tariffs, to surround China and the bad actions that they have with a significant portion of the global economy so that they can’t pick our friends off and try to undermine us. And this isn’t just an interest of the United States to make sure that China behaves good. It’s an interest of the entire world to make China behave fairly when it comes to trade. I think the tariffs approach is the wrong way to do it, but we ought to continue our efforts to change their bad behavior while opening up Colorado opportunities.

“We ought to continue our efforts to change their bad behavior while opening up Colorado opportunities.” Shermanesque, he is not.

BIRKELAND: And so would you push President Trump to find a trade deal sooner rather than later?

GARDNER: I have already pushed President Trump to find a trade deal sooner rather than later. I’ve been meeting with the groups of senators over at the White House for well over a year and a half, bringing people like Sen. Ernst and Sen. Fisher to ag states, Sen. Graham and Sen. Alexander, more manufacturing based states, to the White House to talk about how we need a trade agreement. We need to enter into things like the Transpacific Partnership. We ought to have a European free trade agreement. I passed a bill called the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act, and the president signed it into law on December 31 of this past year. And in that legislation, it directs the administration to pursue multilateral and bilateral trade agreements, hopefully the first of which we’re starting to see with Japan.

Trade agreements with Japan, eh? Trump recently dismissed sales of wheat in Japan, saying the country was only buying from American farmers as a favor to the United States.

Got anything else, Sen. Gardner?

No?

Well, then, let’s give the last word to an actual farmer:

“If [President Trump] doesn’t lose 100 percent of [votes] from the farm belt then people are kind of crazy because this is not going well for farmers at all.”

     — Bob Kuylen, North Dakota farmer (8/27/19)

 

Here’s the full interview with North Dakota farmer Bob Kuylen on CNN earlier this week:

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Report: Rep. Buck Will Retire, Brauchler/Neville Primary?

Colorado GOP chairman Rep. Ken Buck (R).

Newsmax, a right-wing media outlet not generally known for high journalistic standards, nonetheless reports news our readers will be keen to discuss:

Should Reps. Paul Cook, R-Calif., and Ken Buck, R-Colo., make their exits official, they will bring the number of House Republicans resigning, retiring, or seeking another office to 14…

Stalwart conservative Buck, 60, has held Colorado’s strongly Republican 4th District since 2014. In recent weeks, discussion of his not running again or even resigning from office persist. Last week, Buck (who also is state Republican chairman) raised eyebrows by failing to attend a major party function at which he was billed as a speaker along with Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo.

Centennial State sources told Newsmax that Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler, who lost a tight race for state attorney general last year, and State House GOP Leader Patrick Neville, son of a popular former state senator, are considered certain candidates should Buck bow out. Both are conservative in the mold of Buck.

We reported back in May on word that Rep. Ken Buck may retire rather than run for re-election in 2020. At that time Buck’s office denied that report, saying “Congressman Buck has no official plans to retire anytime soon nor in the foreseeable future.” Something about that answer always seemed fishy, and now we may know why.

If Rep. Buck does decide to retire and focus on his newer job of chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, the prospect of a Republican primary to succeed him between Arapahoe County DA George Brauchler and House Minority Leader Patrick Neville would be, to say the least, very exciting–pitting two Republicans who have fiercely disagreed with each other on gun policy, with Brauchler having been targeted by Neville’s allies at Rocky Mountain Gun Owners with damaging ads blasting his (erstwhile) support for Colorado’s popular red flag law. There are some other potential candidates we wouldn’t rule out, but this would be a battle royale matchup with implications for the Colorado GOP’s long-term direction.

We’ve long known it’s a good idea to fact-check anything Ken Buck says.

The new rule appears to be, don’t accept the first round of denials either.

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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (August 27)

Colorado could see its first snow of the season as soon as next week. Yes, it is still officially summer. Let’s 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 an audio/visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show or The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us Facebook and Twitter.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

President Trump wrapped up his visit to the G7 summit in France with a long, rambling press conference that could easily just be a cold opener for “Saturday Night Live” by itself. This is the actual President of the United States of America at the peak of his lunacy.

 

Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was in Aurora on Monday to talk about curbing gun violence. As the Denver Post reports:

“Be bold, be courageous. The nation is counting on you,” Giffords told a standing-room-only crowd of about 150 people during a town hall meeting in Aurora.

Giffords was shot and nearly assassinated in early 2011 during a constituent event in Arizona. To focus on a lengthy recovery, she retired from Congress the following year and has since become one of the nation’s leading advocates for gun control measures.

On Monday night, she hosted the town hall event with three Democratic members of Congress from Colorado — Reps. Jason Crow, Joe Neguse and Ed Perlmutter — as part of her advocacy work in the Centennial State. Attorney General Phil Weiser and several state lawmakers were also in attendance.

“The good news is, the tide is turning,” said Crow, who represents Aurora and ran for Congress on a gun control platform last year. “The majority of Americans are with us” on gun control.

Cardboard Cory — who has had a very big month already — was also in attendance on Monday:

Photo via Aaron Ontiveroz/Denver Post

 

► Democratic Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff reached a new level of self-parody on Monday.

 

► The latest episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast is now available for your listening pleasure. Find out more about John Hickenlooper’s Senate candidacy, Cardboard Cory’s adventures, and whether or not wearing pants will become the signature issue of 2020.

 

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AOC Coming To Boulder, Republicans Go Wild!

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D).

As the Denver Post’s Sam Talabchnik reports:

Colorado Democrats will get a chance to see U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in September when the freshman congresswoman headlines the annual Boulder County party fundraiser.

Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., will be joined by Rep. Joe Neguse, a Democrat from Lafayette, at the 44th annual Truman Dinner on Sept. 21 at the University of Colorado, according to a news release from Boulder County Democrats.

“Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez is not only a great friend but an amazing colleague whose ability to speak truth to power has inspired millions of people across our country, including many here in Colorado,” Neguse said.

Freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is currently one of the bigger draws for Democrats on the fundraising circuit, with her high profile as a young fiercely progressive woman who unseated an establishment stalwart. Ocasio-Cortez’s visibility has also made her a target of heavy Republican vilification, which has greatly intensified since President Donald Trump started singling out Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and several other Democratic women of color for racially-charged attacks on their patriotism.

All things being equal it should be a great fundraiser for Boulder County Democrats, as well as another chance for local Republicans to offend swing 2020 voters by gratuitously trashing the best-known Latina lawmaker in contemporary American politics.

There’s something for everybody.

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Get More Smarter on Friday (August 16)

We should just buy all of the islands. Let’s 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 an audio/visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show or The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us Facebook and Twitter.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

President Trump is apparently getting nervous about the economy — mostly for what it means related to his 2020 re-election. From the Washington Post:

Mounting signs of global economic distress this week have alarmed President Trump, who is worried that a downturn could imperil his reelection, even as administration officials acknowledge that they have not planned for a possible recession.

Trump is banking on a strong economy to win a second term in 2020, and in recent weeks he has impulsively lashed out at the Federal Reserve, pressured Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to label China a “currency manipulator,” and unexpectedly delayed tariffs on Chinese imports out of fear they could depress holiday retail sales.

Yet despite gyrations in the U.S. stock market and economic slowdowns in other countries, officials in the White House, at the Treasury Department and throughout the administration are planning no new steps to attempt to stave off a recession. Rather, Trump’s economic advisers have been delivering the president upbeat assessments in which they argue that the domestic economy is stronger than many forecasters are making it out to be.

President Trump might be setting up Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell to take the fall for any potential economic troubles, but as Catherine Rampell writes in a separate story for the Washington Post, there’s no real plan from the White House:

If things go south, this administration doesn’t have a plan. It never had a plan. And it doesn’t have competent personnel in place to come up with a plan.

Trump’s economic brain trust consists of a guy who plays an economist on TV, a crank  who has been disowned by the (real) economics profession and the producer of “The Lego Batman Movie.”

D’oh!

 

► “So whether you love me or hate me, you’ve got to vote for me,” said President Trump at a campaign rally in New Hampshire on Thursday. 

 

► House Minority Leader and recall grifter Pat Neville says that he is personally responsible for talking President Trump out of supporting so-called “red flag” laws in the aftermath of the Parkland High School shootings in Florida last year.

 

► An astonishing 67% of Americans support an assault weapons ban, according to polling conducted on behalf of Fox News. As CNN’s Chris Cillizza explains:

Yes, there is something of a partisan divide on the question — with 86% of Democrats favoring a ban on automatic and semiautomatic weapons, while 46% of Republicans feel the same. But look at it another way: On a proposal that is widely regarded in GOP congressional circles as a non-starter because it is going too far in limiting guns, self-identified Republicans are split right down the middle — 46% support, 46% oppose.

Among Republican women — one of the key swing voting blocs heading into 2020, a majority (54%) support an assault weapons ban, while just 36% oppose it. And even a majority of people in gun-owning households (53%) support an assault weapons ban.

There hasn’t been an assault weapons ban in place in the United States since the last one expired in 2004, after a decade on the books. Attempts to renew it in 2004 failed — due at least in part, to a heightened national security climate in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and a lack of urgency from the Bush White House.

 

 

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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (August 13)

Enjoy your last day of summer vacation, Jefferson County students. Let’s 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 an audio/visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show or The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us Facebook and Twitter.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Eight counties in Western Colorado are among the fastest-warming places in the entire country, according to data compiled by the Washington Post:

Over the past two decades, the 2 degrees Celsius number has emerged as a critical threshold for global warming. In the 2015 Paris accord, international leaders agreed that the world should act urgently to keep the Earth’s average temperature increases “well below” 2 degrees Celsius by the year 2100 to avoid a host of catastrophic changes…

…A Washington Post analysis of more than a century of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration temperature data across the Lower 48 states and 3,107 counties has found that major areas are nearing or have already crossed the 2-degree Celsius mark.

— Today, more than 1 in 10 Americans — 34 million people — are living in rapidly heating regions, including New York City and Los Angeles. Seventy-one counties have already hit the 2-degree Celsius mark.

Montrose, Rio Blanco, Mesa, and Ouray counties are among the Top 10 most rapidly warming counties in the United States.

 

Colorado Public Radio follows up on a story we’ve been watching closely here at Colorado Pols: The real reason for moving the headquarters of the Bureau of Land Management to Colorado. From CPR:

Critics of the Trump administration’s decision to move the Bureau of Land Management headquarters to Grand Junction fear the real goal is to weaken the bureau.

These concerns and suspicions have only been heightened by recent statements and actions from administration leaders. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt appointed William Perry Pendley as acting BLM director. For years, Pendley advocated selling off the public lands of the agency he’s now leading…

…George Stone, with the Public Land Foundation, a nonprofit made up of many former BLM employees said there’s another saying in D.C.: “If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.”

He and many others fear BLM is the next dish to be served up, facing de-facto cuts and a marginalized position far from D.C. power players to advocate for its interests.

 

A “Draft Hick” movement is the next step in what is increasingly looking like an inevitable U.S. Senate campaign for former Gov. John Hickenlooper. Recent polling indicates that Hickenlooper holds a 51-point lead over the rest of the Democratic field should he join the race for the 2020 nomination.

 

 

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Cory Gardner Dances Around Gun Violence Question

Here come the words!

Colorado Republican Sen. Cory Gardner is rarely at a loss for words on any political or policy subject. It is equally rare, however, that Gardner’s words are used to form meaningful sentences on a given topic. Gardner’s “position” on gun violence is no exception.

As we noted briefly on Tuesday, Gardner made it clear at an event in Aspen this week that he does not support any sort of legislation that could be construed as gun control. Share Blue today picks up on reporting from the Aspen Times from a Monday event in which Gardner said some stuff about the subject on everyone’s mind:

Gardner told an Aspen audience Monday there is no simple solution to the mass shootings that have riddled the country — such as the two Sunday resulting in 31 deaths — including gun control.

“It’s absolutely devastating, what we continue to see,” Gardner said. “So how do we get into this and how do we end and stop it, while protecting other people’s rights, too?”

The Yuma Republican, citing constitutional rights, said he has no desire to implement gun-control measures to curb the violence.

“I don’t support gun control,” he said [Pols emphasis], noting he has worked on issues such as school violence and bullying and is backing the proposed “Eagles Act,” which would provide more resources to the U.S. Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center.

Cory Gardner and Dudley Brown of RMGO

This is maddeningly-typical nonsense from Gardner, whose answer on any important subject is basically just an extended rhetorical question. Gardner starts by asking, “how do we stop [gun violence]” as though it is a question he is actually considering; instead of attempting to answer his own query, Gardner shifts to talking about things he does not support.

Try to imagine what it must be like to have dinner with Gardner:

SERVER: Can I start you off with something to drink?

GARDNER: I don’t eat bacon.

As the Aspen Times notes, Gardner also doesn’t want to talk about President Trump:

President Donald Trump was referred to occasionally during Gardner’s appearance, including from one audience member who asked, “What are you doing to stand up to the leader of your party that spews racism and despite his denials, supports white nationalism?”

Gardner, a first-term senator up for re-election in 2020, would not directly answer the question but again condemned racism and bigotry. [Pols emphasis]

“White supremacy has no room in this country,” he said as part of his response.

“What are you doing about your president?” the person followed up.

“I am going to continue to condemn the white supremacy at every chance and every opportunity I get,” he responded.

Neat!

Gardner’s loyalties lie not with his constituents but with President Trump — whom he has enthusiastically endorsed for re-election — and with the National Rifle Association (NRA).

Gardner is up for re-election in 2020, as is Sen. Thom Tillis (North Carolina) and Sen. Joni Ernst (Iowa). None of this is a coincidence.

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (August 7)

Welcome back to school, kids. 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 an audio/visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show or The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us Facebook and Twitter.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

President Trump is visiting Toledo Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas today in the wake of last weekend’s mass shootings. As the Associated Press reports:

Protesters greeted President Donald Trump’s arrival in Dayton Wednesday, blaming his incendiary rhetoric for inflaming political and racial tensions in the country, as he visited survivors of last weekend’s mass shootings and saluted first responders.

Critics say Trump’s own words have contributed to a combustible climate that can spawn violence such as the outbreaks in Dayton and El Paso, Texas.

Trump rejected that assertion as he left the White House, strongly criticizing those who say he bears some responsibility for the nation’s divisions.

“My critics are political people,” Trump said, noting the apparent political leanings of the shooter in the Dayton killings and suggesting the man was supportive of Democrats.

If pointing fingers healed wounds, President Trump would be our greatest surgeon.

 

► Republican politicians are starting to poke their heads up after a week of mass shootings in the United States and realizing that we have a gun violence problem on our hands. James Hohmann of the Washington Post explains the latest convert:

When the National Rifle Association endorsed Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio) for a ninth term last fall, the group noted that he’s consistently maintained an “A” rating and has been “solidly pro-gun.” Literature sent to members emphasized Turner’s opposition to expanding background checks and banning assault weapons, as well as his past vote to immunize gun manufacturers from liability and to force all states, regardless of their own laws, to recognize concealed carry permits issued anywhere else.

In the wee hours of Sunday morning, Turner’s daughter and a family friend had just entered the Tumbleweed Connection bar in Dayton when a gunman opened fire across the street. Nine people were killed, and 27 were injured. The congressman’s daughter ran home, as he prayed for her and the community.

On Tuesday afternoon, Turner announced that he’s had a change of heart on gun control.He said he would vote for an assault weapons ban, limits on the size of gun magazines and for a federal “red flag” law that would make it easier to “quickly identify people who are dangerous” so their firearms can be taken away.

“The carnage these military style weapons are able to produce when available to the wrong people is intolerable,” Turner said in a statement. “I understand not every shooting can be prevented or stopped from these measures, but I do believe these steps are essential. … This tragedy must become a catalyst for a broader national conversation about what we can do to stop these mass shootings.”

As the saying goes, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” Unfortunately, there is still not yet enough of a will from Republicans to seriously address gun violence. President Trump said Wednesday that he sees “no political appetite” for renewing a long-expired ban on assault rifles in the United States, though he left open the possibility that he would support calling Congress back into session to expand background checks for gun purchases. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is facing increased pressure to act on gun violence but has so far continued to refuse to even debate a pair of bills passed in February by the House of Representatives.

 

► Plans to move the headquarters of the Bureau of Land Management to Colorado were met with skepticism from those who worried that the real motivation for the move was to kill off the agency altogether. Those concerns are now being realized.

 

 

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Mulvaney Confirms BLM Move is Really About Killing BLM

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) has been trying hard to sell the BLM move to Colorado as anything but a decimation of the agency.

The July announcement that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) would move its headquarters to Grand Junction while most of the jobs are relocating from Washington D.C. to Lakewood, Colo., was met with initial enthusiasm before a quick dose of reality dampened expectations significantly. Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) made as big a deal out of the BLM decision as he could, shifting his talking points from the move as a boom to the Grand Junction economy (which is actually only gaining 27 jobs) to more of a philosophical change of basing public lands leadership in the part of the country where most public lands are located.

Skeptics have worried that the BLM move had a more sinister motivation: To ultimately snuff out the agency altogether. As we wrote on July 17:

The BLM’s big move is probably good news for Colorado, which will benefit from the economic impact of the relocation of 85 federal jobs. The effect on Grand Junction’s economy will be significantly less than locals had hoped, however, and it’s not at all clear whether this move is a good thing for the BLM and public lands in general…

Conservation groups have always been skeptical about a proposed BLM move, worrying that the real motivation of such a change is to reduce the agency’s influence with top decision-makers in Washington D.C. 

Mick Mulvaney

White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney

Jennifer Rokola, executive director of the Center for Western Priorities, called the move “a cynical attempt to drain the Interior Department of expertise and career leadership.” Rokala’s warning was backed up by news that a similar move of key sections of the Department of Agriculture to a new office in Kansas City was indeed part of a broader plan to gut the USDA in general. As Ben Guarino reports for the Washington Post, White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney is making it clear that moving federal agencies is mostly about killing them off:

In his keynote speech at the Republican Party’s black-tie-optional Silver Elephant Gala in South Carolina on Friday, Mulvaney seemed to celebrate the attrition at the agencies. “You’ve heard about ‘drain the swamp.’ What you probably haven’t heard is what we are actually doing. I don’t know if you saw the news the other day, but the USDA just tried to move, or did move, two offices out of Washington, D.C.,” he said.

As the crowd clapped, Mulvaney continued: “Yes, you can applaud that one. That’s what we’ve been talking about doing. Guess what happened? Guess what happened? More than half the people quit.

“It’s nearly impossible to fire a federal worker,” Mulvaney said. “I know that because a lot of them work for me, and I’ve tried . . . By simply saying to people, ‘You know what, we’re going to take you outside the bubble, outside the Beltway, outside this liberal haven of Washington, D.C., and move you out in the real part of the country,’ and they quit — what a wonderful way to sort of streamline government, and do what we haven’t been able to do for a long time.” [Pols emphasis]

Trump officials are planning additional shake-ups and exoduses from Washington. By 2020, more than 80 percent of the headquarters staff at the Bureau of Land Management will be moved west of the Rocky Mountains, the Interior Department told lawmakers in July. The Trump administration also wants to break up the Office of Personnel Management and split 5,500 workers among three other departments.

We made people quit their jobs! Please clap!

This was always the plan for the White House, apparently, so the only question that remains is whether or not Gardner was in on the scam from the beginning.

Well, that’s not really a question.

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For Republicans, Inaction is the Only Action on Gun Violence

Washington Post Republican Response on Mass Shootings

The Washington Post (8/4/19)

At least 29 31 people are dead after mass shootings last weekend in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. Dozens more are seriously wounded. We’ll say again what we said in this space after the STEM school shooting in Highlands Ranch last spring: If you want change, you need to get rid of the (largely Republican) elected officials who are doing everything in their power to maintain the bloody status quo.

As Felicia Sonmez and Paul Kane write for the Washington Post, Republican leaders have been largely silent or uselessly vague in response to the latest wave of domestic terrorism to strike the United States:

The Republican Party, which controls power in Washington and both states where America’s most recent mass shootings occurred, struggled on Sunday to provide a response or offer a solution to what has become a public safety epidemic…

…Some Republicans, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) and Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, cited the influence of social media and video games or mentioned mental health problems. But on the question of how to stem the rising tide of gun violence, the overwhelming response from the party was silence or generalities. [Pols emphasis]…

…The reaction mirrored how the GOP has responded after other mass shootings whose city names have become painfully familiar to most Americans — Parkland, Fla.; Sutherland Springs, Tex.; Las Vegas; Virginia Beach; Pittsburgh and Annapolis, Md.

A handful of Republican lawmakers on Sunday endorsed stricter gun controls, but most in the GOP ignored Democratic demands that the Senate abandon its summer recess and return to Washington to address the issue. The House passed two bills in February that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has refused to consider.

Associated Press Trump mass shootings

The Associated Press (8/5/19)

After offering very little of substance on Saturday and Sunday, President Trump today endorsed calls from his daughter, Ivanka Trump, for a federal version of a “red flag” law. Generally referred to as Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPO), these efforts are are also supported by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina). Dudley Brown, the head honcho at Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO), which is a more-extreme version of the NRA in Colorado, immediately hit back at Trump’s suggestion.

In remarks to the media today, Trump also decried white nationalism, blamed video games for violent behavior, and offered prayers for the people of “Toledo,” which is, of course, a completely different city than Dayton, Ohio. Trump’s response certain won’t make anyone feel like the issue of gun violence is being taken seriously by the White House. Trump’s call to focus on mental illness rings hollow given his earlier efforts to make it easier for the mentally ill to get their hands on a firearm (Colorado Republicans, BTW, opposed legislation in the spring to improve mental health services in our state).

Gun violence is also not being given any real consideration by the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — or #MassacreMitch, as he is trending on social media accounts — is flat-out refusing to even allow debate on two packages of gun safety legislation passed by the House of Representatives in February.

Many Republicans reacted to news of the shootings by setting up straw men that they could then pretend to take down with their own rhetoric. South Carolina Republican Sen. Tim Scott appeared on the CBS show “Face the Nation” to make this point“A lot of folks say that prayers don’t matter. Well, I will disagree with them vehemently.”

Okay, great.

Here in Colorado, former State House Speaker Frank McNulty took a similar approach:

Americans are rightly tired of elected officials doing little else aside from offering “thoughts and prayers” after a mass shooting, which is where Sen. Scott and McNulty miss the point here entirely. Prayer is important for many people, but it isn’t a solution to the problem of gun violence in America. Please do pray for the victims of gun violence; when you’re done, call your U.S. Senator. There may not be one single piece of legislation that could have prevented the many mass shootings over the last week, but something is better than nothing at all. We didn’t stop mandating seatbelts in cars just because that policy failed to stop every deadly accident.

The primary suspect in the El Paso shootings.

While Scott and McNulty are focused on something entirely different, at least they didn’t echo the response from Ohio State Rep. Candice Keller, a Republican who represents an area near Dayton, Ohio. Keller placed the blame for mass shootings in a number of different places — from “drag queens” to “transgender” to former President Barack Obama and professional athletes who fail to stand for the playing of the National Anthem. Guns don’t kill people; drag queens force people with guns to kill other people. And also Colin Kapernick, or something. Whatever point Keller was trying to make, the important takeaway here is that nothing in her response had anything to do with taking practical steps to deal with the problem of gun violence in America.

As for Colorado Republicans, Kyle Clark of 9News provides some important context:

Can we solve the crisis of mass shootings in Colorado and the rest of the country? It is absolutely possible…we just can’t do it with the current batch of Republicans in charge.

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Get More Smarter on Friday (August 2)

Happy National Water Balloon Day. 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 an audio/visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show or The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us Facebook and Twitter.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

UPDATE: Nevermind, then. Ratcliffe has withdrawn from consideration.

Here’s a shocker: President Trump’s pick to be the next director of national intelligence seems to have a problem with making things up about himself. From the Washington Post:

President Trump’s choice to lead the nation’s intelligence community often cites a massive roundup of immigrant workers at poultry plants in 2008 as a highlight of his career. Rep. John Ratcliffe claims that as a federal prosecutor in the Eastern District of Texas, he was the leader of the immigration crackdown, describing it as one of the largest cases of its kind.

“As a U.S. Attorney, I arrested over 300 illegal immigrants on a single day,” Rat­cliffe (R-Tex.) says on his congressional website.

Um, nope. Court documents show that only 45 people were charged by Ratcliffe’s office — and six of the cases were dismissed.

Ratcliffe’s background has come under scrutiny since Trump announced Sunday that he plans to nominate the lawmaker to be the next director of national intelligence, replacing Daniel Coats, a former longtime senator and diplomat who was often at odds with the president.

Ratcliffe has dialed back his earlier claims that he had won convictions in a high-profile terrorism case as a federal prosecutor. His planned nomination has drawn opposition from Senate Democrats and tepid support from key Republicans.

Some current and former intelligence officials have said Ratcliffe is the least-qualified person ever nominated to oversee the country’s intelligence agencies — previous directors have been former diplomats, senior intelligence officials and military leaders — and questioned whether he would use the position to serve Trump’s political interests. [Pols emphasis] The post was created after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to coordinate the 16 other agencies of the nation’s intelligence community.

As CBS News reports, Ratcliffe doesn’t appear to be all that interested in the subject he would be tasked with overseeing:

The House Intelligence Committee conducts the vast majority of its work behind closed doors and, often, beyond the walls of the Capitol. But a CBS News review of the eight open hearings the committee has held to date show that Ratcliffe engaged comparatively little during those sessions with the substance of intelligence topics in the panel’s purview.

While in open session, he did not ask any questions related to the work of the intelligence community — or unrelated to the Mueller investigation — in his six-month tenure on the panel.

Democrats are planning to put up a prolonged fight in an effort to prevent Ratcliffe’s nomination from being approved in the Senate.

 

► Opponents of recently-passed legislation to add Colorado to a list of states that would choose the President via a national popular vote have submitted signatures to get their measure on the ballot in 2020. Whether this actually makes political sense is another topic altogether.

 

A bunch of new laws go into effect in Colorado today, including a measure to provide cost transparency by hospitals and a cap on co-pay costs for life-saving insulin medication.

 

► According to an analysis by the Washington Post, a majority of House Democrats now support moving forward with impeachment hearings against President Trump. Aurora Democratic Rep. Jason Crow recently announced his support for impeachment proceedings.

 

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (August 1)

Welcome to August, friends. 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 an audio/visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show or The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us Facebook and Twitter.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► The U.S. Senate passed a broad new spending agreement that completely ignores Republican claims to be “fiscally conservative.” As the Washington Post reports:

The Senate passed a broad, two-year budget deal Thursday that boosts spending and eliminates the threat of a debt default until past the 2020 election, while reducing chances for another government shutdown. The legislation now goes to President Trump, who is expected to sign it despite conservative complaints that it will fuel the nation’s runaway debt…

…Republican leaders including Trump himself had been working to round up GOP support ahead of Thursday’s vote, trying to avoid a repeat of the outcome in the House last week, when a majority of Republican lawmakers ignored Trump’s pleas and voted against the deal. It passed the House anyway, on the strength of Democratic votes. The lobbying effort paid off in the Senate as more Republicans voted in favor of the deal than against it.

The agreement heads off several looming fiscal threats, most immediately the possibility that the Treasury Department could have run out of money to pay its bills as early as September if Congress didn’t act, resulting in a market-shattering default on U.S. obligations.

The deal passed Thursday suspends the debt ceiling through July 31, 2021, removing the threat of default and the accompanying risk of political brinkmanship that typically accompanies debt limit negotiations. It lifts strict Obama-era spending caps that would otherwise slash indiscriminately into agency and military budgets, and sets overall spending levels that will make it easier for lawmakers to write the individual appropriations bills needed to keep the government open past Oct. 1, when current agency budgets expire.

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) was among the Republicans who had been waffling on a new spending agreement, expressing half-hearted concern about deficits while conveniently ignoring the budgetary peril they inflicted with massive tax cuts for the wealthy in late 2017.

 

► We could be just days away from Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) claiming credit for free full-day kindergarten in Colorado. On Wednesday, Gardner made the ballsy and completely baseless boast that he helped Colorado secure approval for a “reinsurance” program that could cut healthcare costs for Coloradans by as much as 18% in 2020. Credit for this program actually goes to Gov. Jared Polis and Democrats in the state legislature, who have worked for years to implement this cost-saving measure.

Colorado journalists, including Kyle Clark of 9News, saw right through Gardner’s nonsense:

► We’ve made it through the second round of debates for candidates seeking the Democratic Presidential nomination. Chris Cillizza of CNN lists his “winners and losers” from Wednesday night, while Ed Rogers of the Washington Post doesn’t give high marks to either Colorado-based contender, former Gov. John Hickenlooper or Sen. Michael Bennet. Hickenlooper and Bennet had brief moments in Detroit, but neither did well enough to likely keep them in the race for much longer. As Nic Garcia writes for the Denver Post, it is Hickenlooper who might be the first to depart:

John Hickenlooper’s campaign for the presidency was always a longshot. Now, after another lusterless debate performance, national political observers and some of his closest allies are wondering when — not if — the former Colorado governor will end his quixotic bid for the White House.

At best, Hickenlooper’s friends are split on whether he should persist in seeking the Democratic nomination or bow out. State party insiders are annoyed with Hickenlooper — some openly pushing him to run for the U.S. Senate instead. Others merely dismiss him as a relic of a political era gone by.

“I think he’s done,” a former Hickenlooper aide told The Denver Post.

Like many former gubernatorial and campaign staff members interviewed for this article, he spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect his relationship with Hickenlooper.

“I think his team will know in the next two days after they see the numbers and analyze other data,” the former aide said. “But my sense is he’s not going to see that.”

 

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Voters “Walk Away” From GOP Nationally, Locally

TFW Republicans realize it’s not getting better.

The Hill reports on new nationwide generic ballot numbers that show Democrats pulling away strongly from Republicans once again on the question to voters of which party should control Congress after the 2020 elections:

Democrats extended their lead over Republicans in a generic 2020 congressional ballot, according to a new poll.

The Economist/YouGov survey of registered voters found that 48 percent of respondents said they would vote Democratic next year, 37 percent would vote Republican and 11 percent were not sure.

The 11 point lead is up from an Economist/YouGov poll conducted July 21-23, when Democrats held a 7 point advantage over Republicans.

In their much-discussed survey of 500 likely voters in Colorado earlier in July (15-17), local Republican pollster Magellan Strategies found a similar wide margin of preference for Democrats to control Congress, in addition to President Donald Trump trailing the generic Democratic candidate by 12 points:

That is, a net 10-point Democratic preference in Colorado, right in line with the new YouGov numbers nationally and from several weeks ago. Historically speaking, these are very favorable numbers for Democrats even early in the election cycle. In June of 2017, national generic polling showed a seven point lead for Democrats, and was broadly interpreted as an early ominous sign for Republicans which proved accurate in the 2018 “Democratic wave.” Generic numbers have also accurately forecast losses for Democrats, both in 2010 and in 2014–years when Colorado Democrats lost their congressional delegation majority and state senate majority respectively.

Given that Republicans in 2018 were confidently predicting a “red wave” up until the historic “blue wave” crashed, don’t expect them to admit it. But if you’re thinking another Democratic landslide in 2020 is in the offing, maybe even bigger than 2018…these numbers back you up.

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Cory Gardner Waffles His Way To Budget Deal Vote

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

CNN reports on ongoing process in the U.S. Senate ahead of a crucial vote on a two-year budget deal already passed by the House after a hard-won bipartisan agreement last week–an agreement that would take a number of thorny fiscal issues off the table ahead of the 2020 elections, but angering “down government in the bathtub” Republicans who object to anything other than cuts:

Bipartisan Senate leaders have agreed to limit debate on a long-sought budget deal — setting up a vote on the package, though as of Wednesday morning it’s not clear when they would vote…

GOP leaders are not giving passes for “no” votes and the goal is still to convince half or more of the conference to vote for the budget deal. Leaders want to avoid a show like the one in the House where there was a massive Republican uprising against the package negotiated by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and blessed by the President. Again, this bill is expected to pass (mostly with Democratic votes), but leaders want to stave off any surprises and want to make sure the President knows that his party is behind a top priority to raise the debt ceiling and stop automatic spending cuts on the defense budget.

And it’s not just congressional leaders. A GOP source close to the process told CNN that the President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper have made a small handful of calls to GOP senators to talk about the budget deal.

The situation is politically a little unusual, with the White House and leadership from both parties in the House and Senate trying to win over hard-line Republicans. The objections from dissenters are not new, and generally consist of the same talking points about “living within our means” that characterize any fight over spending regardless of the individual circumstances. The breakdown between ideological conviction and economic/political reality has repeatedly stymied effective GOP engagement on fiscal issues in recent years, going back to the government shutdowns under President Barack Obama and the fake fight over automatic “sequestration” budget cuts.

It’s a confusing situation, but you know who’s not leading? Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado.

Sen. Cory Gardner, a Republican from Colorado up for reelection, said he is concerned “it’s just a lot of money and at some point, things become so free, we can’t afford it.” [Pols emphasis]

Once again, at a moment when Gardner could offer a clarifying vision in a fractious debate, he cops out with meaningless pablum. Yes, it’s “a lot of money”–but so were the huge tax cuts Gardner voted for that have contributed directly to this year’s trillion-dollar deficit.  If Gardner votes against the bipartisan budget deal today, the only people he’s pleasing are a relatively small faction of hardcore “starve the beast” conservatives–not the MAGA hordes loyal to Trump, and certainly not the independent voters Gardner needs desperately and would rather see Gardner with the majority.

Gardner’s habit of equivocating until the last possible moment on votes may afford him some maneuvering space, but it deprives him of the opportunity to show leadership that could distinguish him in a state which has been rejecting Gardner’s party brand at the polls ever since he narrowly won his seat in 2014. If Gardner’s goal is to show “independence” from Trump after cementing a reputation as a Trump toady, this hard-won bipartisan budget deal is the worst possible way to do that.

We’ll update when Gardner decides which course is best for his career.

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Public Lands Shenanigans: Why Play These Games At All?

Rep. Scott Tipton (R).

The Aspen Daily News’ Todd Hartley follows up on a story we’ve been watching for some days now, growing controversy over a “public lands” bill from Republican Rep. Scott Tipton and backed by Sen. Cory Gardner introduced in direct competition with the CORE Act–legislation Colorado Democrats are hoping to get bipartisan consensus on in order to move any kind of public lands protection bill forward in the current divided Congress.

As Hartley reports, Tipton is responding to the blowback with vague promises to revisit a major difference in the two bills pertaining to the Thompson Divide area, additional protections for which was “left out” of the Republican version:

“The congressman is interested and plans to have those conversations regarding Thompson Divide,” said Matt Atwood, Tipton’s communications director. “That’s part of the reason we left it out, because it is a ‘discussion draft,’ and we want to get all sides of the story before we introduce the full bill.”

That’s better than nothing, we guess, but it sidesteps the larger problem: why run two bills at all?

The prospect of having Thompson Divide protections included in an amended draft of the bill is welcomed by leaders of local conservation groups, but they still expressed skepticism about the underlying motivation behind the REC Act and the exclusion of the divide in the first place…

“We believe that the CORE Act is a well-crafted, well-vetted compromise that is the result of a decade of consensus and stakeholder engagement, and it has really broad community support,” said Julia Morton, interim executive director of the Thompson Divide Coalition. “We believe the solution that has been crafted in the CORE Act is a really fair and good one, and so I think our preference is, obviously, for Tipton to support the CORE Act.” [Pols emphasis]

Not surprisingly, it’s a sentiment echoed by Bennet and his staff.

“The CORE Act is the result of Coloradans working together to hammer out compromises and develop proposals that have widespread local support, including in places such as the Thompson Divide,” said Courtney Gidner, a spokesperson for Bennet. “Our focus is on advancing each of the four components of the CORE Act together. Any contribution that leads us to accomplish these goals is welcome, and we hope Congressman Tipton will join this effort.”

The problem, as we’ve outlined in previous posts, is straightforward. In a divided Congress, the only public lands protection bills that have any realistic chance of passage are bills that enjoy enough bipartisan support to survive the Democratic-controlled House and GOP-controlled Senate to arrive on the President’s desk. If Democrats have a bill and Republicans introduce competing legislation instead of working out their differences with Democrats, the most likely outcome is that no legislation at all passes. That’s why supporters of the CORE Act, the product of years of study and negotiation, were blindsided by Tipton’s introduction of the “REC Act” to accomplish many of the same goals but with certain key differences–in the case of Thompson Divide, taking a side by omission in a long-running fight over protecting a vast natural area from oil and gas drilling.

What happens next? We’ll have to wait. There’s always a chance of a resolution that’s acceptable to all parties, which would take this issue off the table politically ahead of a pivotal general election next year. But if the more likely outcome of no bill at all prevails, Scott Tipton’s bad faith is going to be plain for all CD-3 voters to see.

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Get More Smarter on Friday (July 26)

It’s been a long, strange week in the land of politics — particularly if your name is Ken Buck — so let’s wrap things up. 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.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

 It would seem to be inarguable that Russia (and perhaps others) interfered in the 2016 election, and it seems likely that they are going to try again in 2020. As CBS News reports, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is actively working to make sure that nobody in the United States is effectively able to prevent future interference:

Hours after former special counsel Robert Mueller testified Wednesday that Russians are still meddling in the U.S. political system, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked the advancement of legislation to secure the nation’s election system. Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith also blocked a set of bills on election security Wednesday.

In blocking the legislation crafted by Senate Democrats to provide more funding for election security, McConnell declared the effort partisan and insisted the Trump administration has already done much to secure the nation’s elections.

One bill McConnell objected to would have both required the use of paper ballots and provided funding for the Election Assistance Commission. He also objected to legislation that would have required campaigns and candidates to report offers offers of election-related aid from foreign governments.

McConnell’s blocking of the legislation also comes as the Senate Intelligence Committee released a report identifying significant vulnerabilities — like aging voting equipment, paperless machines without backups and insecurity voter registration basis — exist in the United States’ election system.

As Paul Waldman writes for the Washington Post, McConnell’s rationale for cutting off election security funding is essentially that Republican candidates benefit from his inaction:

Republicans have quite plainly looked at our current state of electoral dysfunction and concluded that it’s working pretty darn well for them. Donald Trump is president, isn’t he? Why would we want to mess with a system that’s producing such wonderful outcomes?

 

► We’ve spent a lot of time in this space recently discussing the various recall grifting operations taking place across Colorado — including at least one example of a recall effort convincing poor saps to part with a piece of their Social Security checks. As Politico reports, the conservative ScamPAC business is humming these days:

After recruiting thousands of donors for the American Conservative Union — the powerful organization behind the annual CPAC conference — a Republican political operative pushed the same contributors to give millions to a PAC that promised to go after then-President Barack Obama, but then steered much of their donations to himself and his partners.

The PAC, called the Conservative Majority Fund, has raised nearly $10 million since mid-2012 and continues to solicit funds to this day, primarily from thousands of steadfast contributors to conservative causes, many of them senior citizens. But it has made just $48,400 in political contributions to candidates and committees. Public records indicate its main beneficiaries are the operative Kelley Rogers, who has a history of disputes over allegedly unethical fundraising, and one of the largest conservative fundraising companies, InfoCision Management Corp., which charged millions of dollars in fundraising fees.

The saga of how politically connected fundraisers used one of the nation’s leading conservative organizations as a springboard for fundraising that mainly benefited the fundraisers themselves sheds light on the growing problem of so-called scam PACs — organizations that take advantage of loosened campaign finance laws to reap windfalls for insiders while directing only a small portion of receipts to actual political advocacy.

If only you could still make a fortune by pretending to raise money for the purposes of attacking Hillary Clinton. Those were the days, eh, Ted Harvey?

 

► Westword’s Chase Woodruff explains how Republicans like Sen. Cory Gardner and Rep. Scott Tipton are actually trying to scuttle public lands legislation by introducing a new bill of their own. We waded into this topic earlier this week.

 

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Ken Buck Blames Mueller for His Own Big Blunder

It has not been a good news cycle for Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley)

The big political news all week has been about former special counsel Robert Mueller’s congressional testimony, which took place on Wednesday in Washington D.C. As we noted yesterday, Colorado’s own Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) made quite the fool of himself — and may have opened the door to an obstruction of justice charge — when it was his turn to ask Mueller questions during a hearing in front of the House Judiciary Committee.

Buck’s questions for Mueller made national headlines (including this gem from Rolling Stone) because of the implication of his questioning and Mueller’s straightforward response. As Joe St. George wrote for Fox 31 Denver, “Colorado Republican Party Chairman Ken Buck Didn’t Help Trump During Mueller Questioning.” Here’s how The Hill newspaper summarized the importance of Buck and Mueller’s exchange:

Former special counsel Robert Mueller on Wednesday said that he believes President Trump could be charged with obstruction of justice after he leaves office.

“Could you charge the president with a crime after he left office?” Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) asked Mueller during the former special counsel’s testimony.

“Yes,” Mueller replied.

Buck appeared to be taken aback, and asked the question again, but adding whether Mueller believed a president could be charged with obstruction of justice after leaving office. The former special counsel again said he believed that was the case.

Welp, Congressman Buck was in full damage-control mode on Wednesday afternoon, where he was a guest on KHOW radio’s “The Dan Caplis Show” and proceeded to blame Mueller for not understanding his questions. As Eli Stokols of the Los Angeles Times (and formerly Fox 31 Denver) notes:

That’s right, dear readers! Ken Buck says old man Mueller just couldn’t comprehend this ingenious line of questioning, which went exactly like this:

BUCK: Okay, but the … could you charge the president with a crime after he left office?

MUELLER: Yes.

BUCK: You believe that he committed … you could charge the president of the United States with obstruction of justice after he left office?

MUELLER: Yes.

Robert Mueller (left) and Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) on Wednesday.

Um, sorry Ken. This is really not even sorta complicated.

Here’s more of Buck’s Wednesday interview with Jon Caldara, who was sitting in for the host on “The Dan Caplis Show“:

CALDARA: Hey, congratulations on asking what seems to be the…the only news of this Mueller…testifying. Give me your first impressions. It seemed cruel that anyone had to sit through this. How bad was it?

BUCK: Well, I tell ya, I felt bad for Mueller. He just didn’t look like he was well today, and I don’t know what was going on. But his tank of gas was on empty, because he just struggled with a lot of different questions. He misunderstood my question on two different occasions. He backtracked from it. And so, it was…it was tough to watch…

CALDARA: What made you want to ask the question about the indictment?

BUCK: Well…it’s fundamentally unfair to say that the President did not commit a crime, and nobody in his campaign committed a crime, concerning Russian conspiracy. And then to say, ‘There’s all these facts about obstruction, but I’m not going to offer an opinion.’ He knew he could not prosecute that case. And finally, in the Intelligence Committee, he said, ‘I will not opine on whether there is a case to be charged on obstruction or not.’ And that’s the only way that…that’s the answer that I wanted, and it’s the answer he gave ultimately but he didn’t give it early enough.

CALDARA: Let me be really clear with you, Congressman, because that’s important. You’re telling me that he never said that there was a case for obstruction of justice. So, you really tried to pin him on this. So, is there a case…he wouldn’t say there was. Am I understanding you correctly?

BUCK: Yes, that’s absolutely correct. What he said was that the President could be charged – or ‘A’ President could be charged after he left office. But he also said he would not opine on whether the facts presented in the report warranted a prosecution.

CALDARA: And that was THE big question of the whole morning – of the last 2 and a half years, hasn’t it been?

BUCK: Well, I think it is. And I was kind of stunned that nobody asked it. You know, I was, what, 14thor 15thin line to ask questions. And that’s why I just thought, ‘I’ve got to ask this question,’ because if they proceed with impeachment and the person who has been studying this issue for a long time has not…will not opine on that issue, [then] we have a problem.

A bit later in the interview, Buck says that he changed his approach with Mueller because some other Members of Congress took what he was going to say:

CALDARA: How much preparation do you put in for something like this, or the Republican team? Obviously the Democrats were hoping for a slam dunk. They put on a great A/V show and all the rest. It didn’t materialize. Is this something that you know is political theater and you kind of suffer through, or is there a lot of preparation to make sure you get the question you got off today…out?

BUCK: Sure, we prepared for weeks for this. And, frankly, the line of questioning that I wanted to use had been developed twice before me, and so that’s why I went to a different line of questioning and asked what I asked.

This is all nonsense.

The simple truth is that Buck made the cardinal prosecutorial sin of asking questions he didn’t already know the answer to. Mueller’s answers reflected poorly on Buck and poorly on President Trump, and all he said to say was, “Yes.”

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D’Oh! Ken Buck Totally Screws President Trump

UPDATE #4: President Trump goes absolutely bananas when asked about the Mueller comments that were precipitated by Rep. Buck’s questioning. Watch the video below and then tell us: Does this sound like a guy who really thinks today was a big victory?

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UPDATE #3: This statement from Colorado Democratic Party Chairwoman Morgan Carroll has to sting a bit:

“Mueller confirmed that the reason he did not indict Trump was because of a DOJ policy that a sitting President could not be indicted. But, I would like to personally thank Ken Buck for confirming with Robert Mueller that President Trump could indeed be indicted and criminally charged with obstruction of justice after he is out of office. Given that the investigation resulted in nearly 200 criminal charges already filed, it’s good for voters to know that Donald Trump soon could face legal consequences for his corruption after they vote him out of office in 2020.”

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UPDATE #2: Dammmmmnnnnnnnnn!!!!

Rolling Stone, 7/24/19

Paul Waldman of the Washington Post uses similar language:

That is what soccer fans call an “own goal.” What Buck inadvertently argued, with Mueller’s help, was that while the evidence of Trump’s personal cooperation with Russia was insufficient to sustain a conspiracy charge, the evidence may well have been sufficient to sustain an obstruction charge, and it may have only been Trump’s current position that is saving him from an indictment.

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UPDATE: This is really, really, really bad for Buck.

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Former special counsel Robert Mueller is testifying publicly before Congress about his investigation into President Trump’s office and potential Russian interference in the 2016 election. Two Members of Colorado’s Congressional delegation are part of the House Judiciary Committee, which got first crack at Mueller’s testimony: Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Lafayette) and Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley).

Oddly enough, it was Buck — the man who is also the newest Chairman of the Colorado Republican Party — who ended up creating one of the biggest moments of the morning:

 

Ken Buck’s “oh, shit” face.

The Hill has more on this back-and-forth:

Buck appeared to be taken aback, and asked the question again, but adding whether Mueller believed a president could be charged with obstruction of justice after leaving office. The former special counsel again said he believed that was the case…

…Whether Trump would be charged with obstruction of justice were it not for the Justice Department guidance has been an area of focus for Democrats, some of whom are pushing to start impeachment proceedings against Trump in light of Mueller’s findings.

Hundreds of former federal prosecutors and DOJ officials have signed onto a letter saying that they believe Trump would have been charged with a crime were it not for the guidance.

Buck is a former Weld County District Attorney, so he should be well familiar with the old axiom to never ask a question of which you don’t already know the answer. Folks watching the Mueller hearings caught Buck’s mistake immediately:

There’s really no way to spin this for Congressman/Party Chairman Ken Buck. This was a YUGE mistake.

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (July 18)

High temperatures in the Denver area are predicted to exceed 100 degrees today, so slather that sunscreen in every nook and cranny. 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.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

 “Send her back” might be the “lock her up” chant equivalent of 2020 for supporters of President Trump. As Stephen Collinson writes for CNN:

In a moment of unrestrained demagoguery, President Donald Trump presided Wednesday over a crowd chanting “Send her back! Send her back!” about an American Muslim congresswoman who he targeted with racist attacks.

The scenes at a North Carolina rally provided an ugly overture to a 2020 election campaign already soaked in hate. They exemplified the tribal politics and white nationalism that Trump is making clear he plans to ride to reelection, no matter their impact on America’s fragile societal harmony.

The chants of “Send her back!” referred to Somalia-born, American citizen Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, one of four minority lawmakers attacked by Trump over the weekend. The invective from the crowd replaced the “Lock her up!” and “Build the wall!” chants of Trump’s first campaign with a jarring racial refrain that the commander-in-chief, speaking from behind a podium bearing the symbolic presidential seal, made no effort to stop.

There is at least one Republican Congressman who is aghast at these chants, and he’s speaking up. Again, from CNN:

Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois on Thursday morning called a chant that broke out at President Donald Trump’s rally the previous night — when the crowd yelled “send her back” as the President targeted Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota — “ugly” and “wrong” and said it “would send chills down the spines of our Founding Fathers.”

“I deeply disagree with the extreme left & have been disgusted by their tone. I woke up today equally disgusted – chants like ‘send her back’ are ugly, wrong, & would send chills down the spines of our Founding Fathers. This ugliness must end, or we risk our great union,” Kinzinger said in a tweet on Thursday morning.

Other Republican elected officials are looking to Vice President Mike Pence for answers, since they’re too afraid to actually confront the big orange guy. No, seriously, read this story.

 

► It’s gonna be a hot day today in Colorado, which might make you wonder about the impact of Climate Change. You could ask the federal government for more information, but as Politico reports, you would have trouble finding an answer:

The Agriculture Department quashed the release of a sweeping plan on how to respond to climate change that was finalized in the early days of the Trump administration, according to a USDA employee with knowledge of the decision.

Staff members across several USDA agencies drafted the multiyear plan that outlines how the department should help agriculture understand, adapt to and minimize the effects of climate change…

…The revelation comes after a recent POLITICO investigation found that the department had largely stopped promoting its own scientific findings about the consequences of climate change. The USDA has also moved away from using phrases like climate change, climate, and greenhouse gas emissions in press releases and social media posts.

 

► If Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) thinks President Trump is guilty of making racist statements, he is keeping that opinion to himself. As Kyle Clark of 9News notes, Gardner’s staff finally responded to requests for comment in a very odd manner:

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

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Throwback Thursday: When Colorado Republicans Opposed Racism

Nate Marshall.

The past week has seen a massive escalation of racial tensions in American politics, primarily the result of President Donald Trump’s racist attacks on four women of color who have been vocal opponents of the President since winning office last November. It’s important to be clear from the outset that Trump’s call for four members of Congress, three of whom were born in this country to “go back” to their countries of origin cannot be interpreted any way other than as a racially motivated attack–since by definition persons born in this country have nowhere to “go back” to.

Since Trump’s racist attacks on these four members of Congress over the weekend, Colorado Republicans have played an uneasy game of cat and mouse with inquiring reports–generally avoiding comment as much as they can, and when cornered giving either the most gentle criticism of the President or none at all. Rep. Scott Tipton doesn’t think it was racist, and while Sen. Cory Gardner worked up the nerve to say on the radio that he “disagreed” with the Tweets in question he refused to condemn them for what they are.

One of the biggest dangers of electing an openly racist demagogue like Donald Trump has always the normalization of rhetoric that has not been acceptable, at least in mainstream American politics, for many years. Trump’s open appeals to nativism and racial prejudice have opened the door to a rise in hate crime since his election, and given space to Republican candidates at all levels to either turn a blind eye to racism or exploit racist sentiment themselves for political gain.

Maria Weese.

In Colorado, we have a long history of Republican candidates and even officeholders who turned out to be unapologetically racist. In 2014, GOP House candidates Nate Marshall and Maria Weese had frightful racist comments in their recent pasts exposed just in time for Republican brass to intervene–dumping both candidates for slightly less embarrassing placeholders who went on to lose. In 2006, Rep. Jim Welker was “persuaded” by ranking Republicans to not run for re-election after racist commentary he shared with his supporters become public.

Colorado Republicans certainly weren’t free of racists back in the day (see: Tancredo, Tom), or even really making a concerted attempt to dissociate themselves from racism. But when people like Nate Marshall became a political liability for Colorado Republicans, the will existed to deal with the problem.

Based on what we’ve seen this past week, no such will exists today.

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At Least He’s Not Your Congressman

Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Mike Kelly

In another edition of our long-running feature, “At Least They’re Not Your Elected Official,” we take you the halls of Congress (via Pennsylvania), where one Republican Congressman is trying out some new talking points on racism in politics.

As CNN reports:

A white Republican congressman said Tuesday that he isn’t offended by President Donald Trump’s racist attacks on four Democratic congresswomen of color because he’s “a person of color.”

“You know, they talk about people of color. I’m a person of color. I’m white. I’m an Anglo Saxon. People say things all the time, but I don’t get offended,” Rep. Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania told Vice News. [Pols emphasis]

The statements were made as the House was considering a resolution condemning the racist language Trump used on Sunday in a series of tweets in which he told Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Illhan Omar and Ayanna Pressley to “go back” to their home countries. The comments touched off a firestorm, though House Republicans have largely defended Trump and overwhelmingly voted Tuesday night to oppose the resolution.

Well, this is not at all completely tone deaf or disrespectful of the challenges faced by other people. Would it surprise you to know that Rep. Kelly was not one of the four Republicans who voted in favor of yesterday’s resolution condemning President Trump’s racist remarks?

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Cory Gardner Even Backpedals on the Question of Racism

UPDATE: As Political Wire reports, there is a concerted effort in other parts of the country to discourage any dissent toward President Trump:

“Arizona Republican Chairwoman Kelli Ward said she wishes GOP elected officials, specifically Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ), ‘would just be quiet’ when they disagree with President Trump,” according to audio obtained by Phoenix New Times.

If Gardner has had a similar discussion, you can consider the message received.

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Congressional Republicans have largely been going out of their way to refrain from classifying President Trump’s recent comments about four Democratic Congresswomen as what they are: Racist. Most Congressional Republicans are trying very, very hard to not comment at all, either because they agree with Trump or because they fear his political wrath.

On Tuesday, House Democrats were joined by four Republicans in support of a resolution condemning Trump’s racist remarks. None of Colorado’s Republican Members of Congress — Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Cortez), Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley), and Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) — summoned the courage to rebuke Trump. Buck was the first of the trio to offer a flaccid response, and Tipton’s later comments were embarrassingly weak. As for Lamborn…well, it’s never clear that Lamborn is fully cognizant of anything that is happening around him.

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma), meanwhile, is employing a version of his go-to move, which is something that we like to call “The Gardner Shuffle.” Gardner usually handles a situation like this by 1) Trying to avoid reporters altogether, 2) Offering a completely meaningless comment at the end of the news cycle, and 3) Backpedaling on his previous comment and/or scurrying away from follow up questions.

First, the avoidance. Gardner did his best to ignore questions about Trump’s racism by pretending that he was just so busy working on the BLM’s move to Colorado that he couldn’t possibly do something else at the same time. As the Denver Post reports:

On Monday, Gardner told a conservative radio host that he was focused on other matters, declining to comment on the Trump tweets. The senator had faced flack from his many Democratic opponents, who have accused him of political cowardice for not commenting.

Colorado reporters persisted in trying to get a comment from Gardner, but to no avail. This brief segment from Kyle Clark of 9News on Tuesday is worth a watch:

CLARK: We have been trying to get ahold of Colorado Senator Cory Gardner to discuss President Trump’s racist Tweets telling American Congresswomen of color they should go back where they came from. And today, we heard this from Gardner and his staff…

At this point Clark goes silent for several seconds.

CLARK: Yeah, we didn’t hear anything from them. They aren’t responding to us.

Second, the meaningless comment. During an interview with KOA Radio on Tuesday, Gardner finally managed to eek out a response, saying he “disagreed with the President” and “wouldn’t have sent” the same Tweets. Shermanesque, it was not.

And finally, the backpedal retreat. As the Associated Press reports today:

By Tuesday, Gardner offered up a more on-point answer to the question of whether and how much he supports Trump’s racist tweets.

“I disagree with the president,” Gardner told Denver-area KOA NewsRadio. “I wouldn’t have sent these tweets.”

But asked by CNN later at the Capitol, he would not say whether he thought Trump’s tweets were racist. [Pols emphasis]

Would I lie to you?

As Laurie Kellman and Nick Riccardi explain for the Associated Press, Gardner is all about doing the right thing…for Cory Gardner:

To win another term, Gardner will need to hold the votes of Colorado’s Trump-allied Republicans who remain suspicious of the senator’s rescinded endorsement in 2016, while winning over independents who reject the president but are wary of the Democrats’ agenda.

Gardner has occasionally chastised the president after controversial moments – notably after Trump praised “both sides” following a confrontation between neo-Nazis and activists in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017 that left a counterprotester dead – and he’s carved out a distinct path on immigration. But Gardner has also voted for most of Trump’s priorities. He’s supported the president’s effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, his tax cut, both his Supreme Court justices and several other federal judges, along with most of his Cabinet.

Gardner, who has a sunny disposition, has also embraced elements of Trump’s incendiary remarks. In a speech at a conservative gathering in Denver on Friday, Gardner, who has bemoaned Democrats’ embrace of “socialism,” slammed what Republicans describe as the leftward drift of Democrats.

And there you have it.

This is why Gardner is disliked by Coloradans of all political stripes. Cory Gardner is a used-car salesman with a fancier title. You could try to argue otherwise, but you can’t talk faster than he can backpedal.

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House Democrats Condemn Trump Racism With 4 GOP Votes

WEDNESDAY UPDATE: Of all the responses we’ve seen from Republicans downplaying President Donald Trump’s overtly racist Tweets, Rep. Scott Tipton’s stands out as particularly weak-minded–via the Colorado Independent:

Tipton, who represents Colorado’s 3rd District, told The Indy he didn’t think Trump’s remarks were racist.

“You’ve got the four folks accusing [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi of racism,” he said, referring to past comments made by Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, Tlaib and Pressley. “Now they’ve included the president in on that. I don’t think either of them were racist.”

It’s a false equivalence that won’t age well, since:

Pelosi called Trump’s language “disgraceful” and pledged “continue to forcefully respond to these disgusting attacks” in a letter to her colleagues. [Pols emphasis]

There is simply no objective comparison.

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“I know racism when I see it. I know racism when I feel it. And at the highest levels of government, there is no room for racism.”

          — Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.)

The House of Representatives capped a dramatic day in Washington D.C. by voting (240-187) in support of H. Resolution 489, condemning President Trump for his racist remarks targeting four Members of Congress. The resolution states that “President Donald Trump’s racist comments have legitimized fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color.” It states that the House “strongly condemns” the President’s remarks, including “that our fellow Americans who are immigrants, and those who may look to the President like immigrants, should ‘go back’ to other countries.”

As NBC News reports:

The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives passed a resolution on Tuesday night condemning President Donald Trump for his “racist comments” about four Democratic congresswomen of color…

…The four Republicans who voted in favor of the resolution, which “strongly condemns President Donald Trump’s racist comments that have legitimized and increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color,” were Reps. Will Hurd of Texas, Fred Upton of Michigan, Susan Brooks of Indiana and Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania. Rep. Justin Amash, who announced his departure from the Republican Party earlier this month, also voted in favor of the resolution.

“These comments from the White House are disgraceful and disgusting and the comments are racist,” Pelosi said as she first introduced the resolution condemning Trump’s incendiary remarks about the congresswomen.

All three of Colorado’s Republican Members of Congress — Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Cortez), Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley), and Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) — voted no on the resolution. Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) will almost certainly not have to face a similar vote in the Republican-controlled Senate.

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