This morning, Sen. Cory Gardner appeared on the obscure Ross Kaminsky Show on Denver’s AM 630 KHOW radio–the latest case of Gardner avoiding mainstream media outlets and reporters in order to be “accessible” to the tiny sliver of diehard conservatives who tune into the lesser AM talk radio channels from 5-10:00AM.
To Kaminsky’s credit, however, he did ask Sen. Gardner about the budding scandal over President Donald Trump’s alleged abuse of presidential power to pressure Ukraine into re-investigating the son of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, and received what we believe are Gardner’s first public comments since the story broke in the middle of last week.
Predictably, though, Kaminsky got answers from Gardner that won’t satisfy anyone. Hot from transcription:
KAMINSKY: I do want to ask you about this whole, quote/unquote, “whistleblower” thing going on, because this is leading the news everywhere. In my mind, it’s a special kind of bone-headedness, for a guy who’s just been through three years of what Trump went through, being accused of, quote/unquote, “collusion” with an Eastern European government, to then go ask an Eastern European leader to do something that involves our election. But I think, really, the big question that this might — kind of the linchpin, here, is whether there was some kind of direct quid pro quo regarding money or military aid.
GARDNER: Well, I think what has to happen is, step back from the politicization of this — [the politicization] that you’ve already seen rampant on the headlines. And get the information. I think that is simply what we have to do, follow the process of the Intel Committee which is in an effort right now to get the information, to hold a hearing, and to have a briefing. And I think that’s the kind of thing that we need to do — to get the information — because this is serious, and that’s why it should be taken seriously, and not just in the context of an election.
KAMINSKY: I mean, how serious is it, in your mind?
GARDNER: Well, we have to get the information. [Pols emphasis] I mean, there have been miscellaneous reports about whether the whistleblower was actually on the call, or in the call, or whether he was — whether he or she was receiving this information through a read-out which many, many other people got. So, I’m not going to speculate. But what I do think we need to do is follow the law, follow the process, and make sure that we get the information.
What we have here is textbook “Con Man Cory” evasion, notable mostly for its insulting lack of candor while still managing to employ a large number of generally grammatical words. Gardner waited until an appearance on a conservative radio show to address this growing controversy, but his non-answers won’t make conservatives any happier than liberals. Gardner says he’s not going to “speculate” about the seriousness of the situation, one literal sentence after speculating about whether the situation is all that serious! And of course we mustn’t “politicize” the allegations, even though the entire story is about Trump taking improper actions (wait for it) against a political opponent.
Given Gardner’s long record of advocating for Ukraine’s interests as they try to preserve their independence under the constant threat of Russian domination, Gardner’s lack of concern over Trump essentially turning American aid to Ukraine into a personal political bargaining chip looks especially bad. But it’s Gardner’s willingness to “speculate” about the motives of everyone except Donald Trump that has wrecked his credibility ahead of his re-election campaign, in a state whose voters are motivated to punish Trump’s party and brand for a third consecutive cycle.
It was yet another chance for Gardner to change course. And it’s another chance blown.