Cory Gardner Screws Up on North Korea

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


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


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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But…but…that’s not what mom said!

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

15 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. unnamed says:

    Stay the course Senator.  They'll throw you under the bus.

  2. Zappatero says:

    There’s stooooopid, then there’s STOOOOOOPID!!!!

  3. davebarnes says:

    "According to a Pence aide, the vice president was asked about force readiness during the Senate GOP lunch and stressed that while the semiannual “war games” would end, the regular readiness training would continue."

  4. Gilpin Guy says:

    This is the eternal conflict following Gardner.  On the one hand you really really want it to be 2020 so you can participate in the take down of this mother fucker but on the other hand you don't want time to fly by too fast because you can't get it back.  Needless to say, Cory would have been beside himself with rage if Obama had done what Trump did.  Every time he does one of these nonsensical kabuki's , he motivates more people to get out and work to get rid of him.

  5. JohnInDenver says:

    Sen. Gardner doesn't really know what "he talked about war games" really means.  "That probably means bomber overflights. Does that mean all exercises? Doubtful." And the meaning is going to be particularly difficult to grasp, as the concept was not included in the joint document "because of time."

    So, games (whatever they are) are out. Exercises apparently are not. We as yet don't know whether there were discussions of strength and conditioning drills, on-field workouts and individual drills, organized team activities, mini-camps, and scrimmages.

    When the NFL is more serious about their regulations than the Trump Sad!-ministration is about international negotiations, we get a sense of what the trouble might be.

    Eventually, Gardner is going to have to decide if the haphazard approach to diplomacy is worth endorsing or not.

    • unnamed says:

      Being Cory Gardner means never having to make decisions.

      • mamajama55 says:

        I think Gardner makes decisions. He decides to do what Trump wants. (which can change daily or hourly)

        But he never lets his constituents know what those decisions are, or even that they exist. He is a master of the amiable non-answer. As he demonstrates here.

        • RepealAndReplace says:

          I think Gardner makes decisions. He decides to do what Trump wants. (which can change daily or hourly)

          In some ways, he reminds me of our very own Moldy Anus.

        • Gilpin Guy says:

          I really enjoy the lyrical quality of your writing (master of the amiable non-answer).

          The other term that would be appropriate to use for Gardner's positions is dissemble.  He know's what he is going to do like vote for repealing the ACA but pretends he is undecided.  It is his standard shtick.


          • mamajama55 says:

            Thanks. Yes, dissembling is Cory's strong suit.

            In Yuma, the best they can say about Cory is that he comes from a very fine family.

            Well, yay.

            Hopefully, in 2020, Cory will have that chance to spend more time with his fine family.

            Although he'll probably have nailed a cushy lobbying gig by then.

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