UPDATE: Via the Denver Posts’s Anna Staver, the BS goes on:
Just spoke with a woman who said she was in @SenCoryGardner’s office this morning trying to get a meeting and listened to his staff tell dozens of callers the senator was undecided on #KavanaughVote 🤷🏻♀️ #COPolitics
— Anna Staver (@AnnaStaver) October 5, 2018
It takes a special kind of contempt for the truth to be Cory Gardner, folks.
Yesterday, as protests raged in Washington, D.C. against the confirmation of U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh that before day’s end had resulted in hundreds of arrests, a group of Colorado women in town to peacefully lobby against Kavanaugh scored what could be considered a major coup: a 30 minute face-to-face meeting with Sen. Cory Gardner to make the case that Kavanaugh is unfit for this lifetime appointment.
But as Denverite’s Esteban Hernandez reports, Gardner had no intention of being honest in return:
“The majority of us that were part of the delegation today are survivors of sexual violence,” [Fawn] Bolak said in a phone interview from Washington on Thursday. “So we came out to talk to our senator and share our stories in an effort to sway their vote or encourage deeper action against Kavanaugh.”
Bolak said their visit was organized primarily by the ACLU of Colorado. She works at the liberal advocacy organization ProgressNow Colorado, which held a demonstration outside Sen. Gardner’s offices last week calling on the senator to speak out against Kavanaugh…
“He repeated, over and over again, from his perspective, he heard two people speaking their truth and that he wanted to wait for the FBI report that he would be reading later this evening,” Bolak said. [Pols emphasis]
“Honestly, it felt like a cop-out,” Bolak added. “I think he was probably uncomfortable with a lot of us being in his office, with us sharing violent, intimate details of what happened to us.”
And apparently, it wasn’t just this group of sexual assault survivors who Gardner wanted to imagine he was undecided on supporting Kavanaugh’s confirmation. Gardner’s spokesman said the same thing to the Denver Post for a story late yesterday:
Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colorado, hasn’t decided how he’ll vote on Judge Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee who has faced sexual assault allegations, Gardner’s office said Thursday evening.
The senator wants to finish reading the FBI report before making a decision, spokesman Casey Contres said. Gardner said he’d vote yes on Kavanaugh’s confirmation after meeting with the judge in July. However, that was before several women accused him of sexual misconduct…
After these two reports appeared yesterday afternoon, local reporters were incredulous that Gardner had claimed to be undecided, and swiftly vented their flabbergast:
— Kyle Clark (@KyleClark) October 5, 2018
But by the end of the day, it didn’t matter as Gardner issued an updated statement claiming his support for Kavanaugh had never wavered.
“Senator Gardner has been supportive of Judge Kavanaugh throughout the nomination. He had the opportunity to review the FBI report tonight. Nothing in the report changed his mind and he remains supportive of Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination.”
That is of course the answer that everyone expected. There seems to be some desire to criticize the Denver Post for their report, which fails to note that Gardner was not really considered on the fence by anyone–but they didn’t put these words into the mouth of Gardner’s spokesman, or the sexual assault survivors who met with Gardner earlier yesterday.
So what really happened here? It’s simple: classic Cory Gardner subterfuge is what happened. Since his election to the U.S. Senate in 2014 and especially since the inauguration of President Donald Trump, Gardner has played key issues with ambiguity giving over to outright deception–telling different groups of people what they want to hear, and only attempting to reconcile contradictions when forced to.
And when that happens, it’s often not pretty.
In this case, Gardner was too much of a coward to tell this group of sexual assault survivors that he is going to vote to confirm a man accused by multiple women of sexual misconduct to the U.S. Supreme Court. So he didn’t. But because it would plunge Kavanaugh’s nomination into chaos if a leadership-level GOP Senator like Cory Gardner was truly undecided, the news cycle couldn’t end without Gardner copping to the truth.
In short Cory Gardner lied to his own constituents, threw up some deceptive chaff to a local reporter that fell utterly flat under scrutiny, then came home before sundown. It fits well with the larger narrative of Republicans rushing to confirm Kavanaugh in seeming defiance of the allegations against him instead of taking them seriously, but it’s also exactly the kind of deception Gardner’s critics have complained about for years.
It’s one of the clearest examples we’ve seen yet of Gardner’s free-wheeling dishonesty, and we can’t see how it can be spun any other way. But it’s hardly the first, and that’s a lesson everyone who deals with Gardner from voters to reporters need to learn.