It is time to leave partisan corners and work together on behalf of the American people to move our country forward. Watch my full statement following the State of the Union ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/5u2wm0x8eD
— Cory Gardner (@SenCoryGardner) February 6, 2019
Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, considered one of if not the most vulnerable incumbent Republican U.S. Senator up for re-election in 2020, was effusive in his praise for President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address last night (see video above):
“I applaud the President’s call for compromise and cooperation tonight. It is time to leave partisan corners and work together on behalf of the American people to move our country forward,” Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner said in a statement. “I stand ready to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to fix our broken immigration system, fund border security, invest in our nation’s crumbling infrastructure to reduce traffic in Colorado, and bolster our national security.”
Oddly, though, one of the biggest foreign policy announcements in Trump’s speech yesterday–one with direct relevance to Sen. Gardner as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee–went totally unmentioned by Gardner in his response. Trump is set to meet once again with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un at the end of this month:
“Much work remains to be done, but my relationship with Kim Jong Un is a good one. Chairman Kim and I will meet again on February 27 and 28 in Vietnam,” he added…
Trump’s announcement Tuesday came just hours after news of a confidential United Nations report that found North Korea is moving its nuclear and ballistic weapons to hide them from potential US military strikes.
The North Korean nuclear and missile program remains intact and shows no change in Pyongyang’s behavior, the biannual report says. [Pols emphasis]
The continuing threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear program, despite Trump’s claims of progress and now the rewarding of the North Korean regime with a second face-to-face meeting with Kim Jong Un, was something Gardner personally expressed concern about in an opinion piece posted to FOX News yesterday:
Make no mistake about it: North Korea still remains a clear and present danger to the safety and security of the American people. So far, no concrete action toward CVID has taken place; decommissioning already destroyed or obsolete facilities does not count. Without concrete steps toward CVID, the only thing Kim Jong Un appears to be committed to is the regime-standard ploy of delay and non-compliance.
That assessment is entirely correct as we understand the situation. The question is, why didn’t Gardner say anything about Kim Jong Un being rewarded with another undeserved summit in his glowing sendup of Trump’s State of the Union address? After all, Gardner slammed President Obama for talks with lower level North Korean officials in the absence of “tough preconditions” that have in no way been met even now.
Bottom line: Sen. Cory Gardner is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia. His leadership role on relations with North Korea makes this omission more than a mere oversight. For whatever reason, Gardner is unwilling or unable to directly confront Trump over his decisions on North Korea–even as he admits to the problem in other forums.
It’s just another example of Gardner trying to appease both Trump and reality, and failing.