In the fall of 2016, back when it was still inconceivable to most people that Donald J. Trump might actually end up as the President of the United States, it wasn’t hard to find a Republican seeking distance between themselves and the Republican nominee for President. Media outlets often referred to these Republican politicians as “Never Trumpers.”
Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) was one of these “Never Trumpers.” Gardner called for Trump to drop out of the race for President following the release of the infamous “Access Hollywood.” Not only did Gardner pull his support of Trump — he didn’t even vote for him. Gardner has repeatedly said that he wrote in the name “Mike Pence” on his 2016 ballot rather than vote for Trump.
Naturally, Gardner has now formally endorsed President Trump for re-election in 2020.
Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), another Republican senator who vocally opposed Trump in 2016, told IJR that he’s endorsing the president now because it’s the “right thing to do for Colorado.”
“Look, there are things here — look, I’ve made it very clear that where I agree with the president, we will agree or where I disagree, we will disagree,” Gardner told IJR. “But I’m going to fight like hell for Colorado, and we’ve done some good things for Colorado.
“I know what Kamala Harris and I know what Bernie Sanders will do to Colorado, and that’s why I’ll be supporting the president,” Gardner added.
Gardner called for Trump to step aside in 2016 and said the only way Republicans would defeat Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton “is with a new nominee that reflects the values of our country and our party.”
“I cannot and will not support someone who brags about degrading and assaulting women.”
— Sen. Cory Gardner, Oct. 8, 2016
Supporting the President in 2020 is “the right thing to do for Colorado.”
— Sen. Cory Gardner, Jan. 30, 2019
As we discussed on Tuesday, a new poll from Keating Research shows just how out-of-tune Trump and Gardner have become with Colorado voters; both politicians own an approval rating of just 39%. Gardner’s poll numbers in Colorado have been in the toilet since 2016, and even his base is leaving him; conservative columnists see right through Gardner’s attempts at appearing to be “bipartisan.”
When Gardner was shown departing Air Force One right behind President Trump in August 2018, he gave up any pretense of separation with Trump. Formally endorsing Trump’s re-election now is a bit odd, however, considering that we don’t yet know the results of the Mueller Investigation and Americans are still angry about the government shutdown. Gardner will now be expected to stand alongside Trump whenever the President campaigns in Colorado, which is a hell of an albatross for any politician.
Perhaps Gardner feels that he needs to make a public endorsement in order to stave off any potential primary opponents, because this move certainly won’t help him with a general electorate in Colorado.