It’s been a few months since we last checked in with our running series, “No Comment Cory.” We probably should have updated this sooner, because there has been a whole lot of dodginess from Gardner lately.
The Denver Post, in fact, is so fed up with the invisibility routine from Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) that it devoted an entire story on Monday to his ducking and dodging:
Gardner’s silence dates back months. His public appearances, never numerous in 2019, were rarer still this fall. He has avoided conservative talk radio, once a political safe space, along with most news media. His office agreed to arrange an interview with The Denver Post in Washington, D.C., during the House impeachment process, but later said he was unavailable and instead emailed a statement criticizing that process.
Asked last week whether Gardner believes Trump cabinet members should testify during the trial and whether he agrees with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s decision to work in “total coordination” with the White House, Gardner’s spokeswoman sent the same statement, answering neither question…
…The last time the senator spoke with a significant contingent of Colorado reporters was Oct. 10, when he made national headlines for refusing to say whether it’s inappropriate for an American president to ask a foreign government to investigate a political rival. Gardner declined to answer the question a dozen times that day.
That press gaggle on October 10th was absolutely BRUTAL for Gardner. It wasn’t because reporters asked gotcha questions — it was because Gardner just wouldn’t answer any questions. Sometimes Gardner dodges questions, or declines comment, or literally runs away. Sometimes he just goes completely silent on issues that were once of utmost importance to him.
As we’ve been documenting, it’s virtually impossible to get Colorado’s junior Senator to provide his opinion on anything…which is why we take the time to point out just how often Gardner and his office duck and run from reporters. We can’t be sure that this is a complete list of all of the times that Gardner (or his office) refused to comment about something important over the past three months, but we’ve done our best to keep track.
Let’s get to it. Unless otherwise noted, all emphasis below is ours.
October 18, 2019
Brandon Thompson of Fox 21 News in Colorado Springs experienced the Gardner silent treatment firsthand:
It’s been more than a week and @SenCoryGardner didn’t learn any new talking points about Ukraine. He walked away from our interview, again refusing to say if withholding foreign aide is something a U.S president should do #copolitics pic.twitter.com/Vv9UOgjz3r
— Brandon Thompson (@BThompsonNews) October 18, 2019
Ernest Luning of the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman wondered about Gardner’s plans to attend a big Trump fundraiser in New York City:
Spokespeople for Gardner’s campaign and the NRSC didn’t respond to a request for comment.
October 25, 2019
9NEWS again asked Gardner if he feels it’s appropriate for a president to ask a foreign government to investigate a political rival. His team did not respond.
October 26, 2019
The Hill newspaper wondered about Gardner’s position on a prescription drug pricing bill that at one point had the support of President Trump:
Gardner’s office did not respond to a request for comment on whether he supports the bill.
Ditto for The Colorado Times-Recorder.
October 31, 2019
The Christian Science Monitor profiled a handful of Republican Senators on the issue of impeachment and President Trump’s troubles:
Mr. Gardner has refused to comment on impeachment before, as he puts it, all the facts are in. He’s also repeatedly declined to say whether or not he thought it was appropriate to ask a foreign government to investigate a political rival, even walking away from an interview to avoid the question earlier this month.
Still, he’s been a vocal critic of the House investigation, calling it a partisan exercise, and he quickly signed on to the resolution attacking the inquiry.
November 5, 2019
What say Sen. Gardner about President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate accord? Not much, finds the Colorado Springs Gazette.
November 7, 2019
The Colorado Independent was on-hand for a discussion about immigration policy featuring Gardner and Sen. Dick Durbin. A reporter tried to follow up after the event:
He declined to comment after the event when asked by The Colorado Independent whether he’d support the “American Dream and Promise Act,” a bill that passed the U.S. House in June. The legislation would offer protections for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children and others who are currently without permanent legal status.
He directed the question to his spokeswoman, who asked the Independent to follow up via email. She did not respond to an email requesting comment.
November 13, 2019
Does Sen. Gardner think it is appropriate for the President of the United States to enlist a foreign government for help in an election? Westword tried (again) and failed (again):
It remains unclear what additional information Tiegen and other Republicans — including Senator Cory Gardner, who has refused to comment on Trump’s conduct toward Ukraine until he gets “all the facts” — expect to be revealed…
…Gardner’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
November 21, 2019
Gardner won’t even talk to the sycophants on right-wing radio in Colorado:
KNUS 710-AM’s Steffan Tubbs explained to his listeners Wednesday that he texted Gardner’s press office Tuesday morning to request an interview with Gardner on Thursday or Friday to discuss the “impeachment inquiry, campaign, and Thanksgiving plans.”
Tubbs sent his text again to Gardner’s office Wednesday morning and got a response saying, “Hey Steffan, taking a look at schedule and will circle back.”
Gardner’s office eventually texted Tubbs, “Unfortunately at this point the schedule is packed Thursday and Friday at that time. Sorry about that, and thanks for the invitation!”
Tubbs read Gardner’s response on air and then played audio of cricket noises.
December 5, 2019
After a new TV ad began airing that was critical of Gardner’s policy history on abortion and women’s health matters, reporters had questions.
From The Hill newspaper:
An ad airing in Colorado argues that Gardner doesn’t “care about women’s health.” We reached out to the Tillis, McSally and Gardner campaigns for comment, but only heard back from McSally.
Not even Fox News could get a response from Gardner:
Representatives for Tillis and Gardner did not immediately respond to Fox News’ requests for comment.
December 6, 2019
Gardner appeared at an event with Armed Services Committee Chair Jim Inhofe and was asked a few questions afterward by the Colorado Springs Gazette:
Gardner sat to the right of Inhofe during these remarks, and did not address them during the meeting. When asked afterward whether he agreed that the military is used to advance social goals, Gardner responded, “I’m not sure what he is referring to, so you’d have to ask him.”
December 10, 2019
The Colorado Springs Gazette sought comment from Gardner after Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Denver) joined the chorus of Democrats calling for the resignation of White House adviser Stephen Miller on account of the fact that he is ridiculously racist.
An e-mail sent to the office of U.S. Cory Gardner was not returned, asking if he had an opinion on Miller’s employment or his ideology as characterized by the Democratic senators.
December 11, 2019
The Colorado Sun wondered if Gardner might ever remove his nose from the derriere of the President:
Gardner is mostly mum on how and why his stance on the president has evolved over the past three-plus years, but political math provides important context as to why he may not have a choice, politically speaking, when it comes to his support for Trump…
…In a recent interview, Gardner declined to answer questions about his views on Trump and instead attacked Democrats.
December 14, 2019
In mid-December, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell raised plenty of eyebrows when he said that he would be working closely with the frigging White House on a potential Senate impeachment trial. The Washington Post had some questions:
When asked to react to McConnell’s plans to take his cues from the White House counsel, spokespeople for GOP Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Cory Gardner (Colo.), Martha McSally (Ariz.) and Mitt Romney (Utah) never responded.
December 17, 2019
Is it appropriate for the President of the United States to enlist a foreign government for help in an election? The Washington Post tries again:
The Colorado Democratic Party, for instance, has counted 19 times that Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) has declined to directly answer whether it was appropriate for Trump to ask the president of Ukraine to look into former vice president Joe Biden’s role in the country.
“Republican Senators have shown they don’t have the courage or independence to stand up to the White House, and this is another example of their failure,” Lauren Passalacqua, a spokeswoman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said in a statement, echoing the very argument Republicans are making about House Democrats and their leaders.
Wait for it…
A spokesman for Gardner did not respond to a request for comment.
Laura Litvan of Bloomberg News has a similar experience:
As he left Thune’s office, Romney said he’s ‘indifferent’ as to whether witnesses get settled early on or later. Said he hasn’t decided yet witnesses should be called.
Cory Gardner when asked about witnesses said simply, “We’ll have a trial!” as he dashed into the GOP luncheon.
— Laura Litvan (@LauraLitvan) December 17, 2019
December 20, 2019
How about President Trump’s border wall money grab taking funds away from military projects in Colorado? The Wall Street Journal asked…and got nothing.
December 22, 2019
The National Journal got THISCLOSE to getting Sen. Gardner to explain his position on a bill meant to lower prescription drug prices:
“We’ve got to do something to drive down prices; I hope that we can do something that has full bipartisan support,” Gardner said earlier this month when asked by National Journal if the bill should be placed on the floor for a vote. He added at the time that he had not had a chance to read the most recent version of the legislation, and he declined to say if he supported the bill.
December 25, 2019
All the New York Daily News wanted for Christmas was a comment from Gardner after Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski was critical of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for publicly declaring that he would work directly with the White House on impeachment issues.
Spokespeople for Romney, Gardner and Collins did not return requests for comment on Wednesday.
December 26, 2019
Colorado Public Radio wondered why the U.S. Senate doesn’t ever seem to pass any legislation:
Gardner didn’t give an opinion on the pace of legislation when asked.
Joey Bunch of the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman is never shy about praising Gardner for any reason, but he couldn’t get a comment for his column:
Gardner has been mum about impeachment, and his campaign did not immediately reply to a request for a comment from Colorado Politics about the new billboard Thursday.
This blog will be updated if Gardner weighs in.
Spoiler alert: It wasn’t.
And, finally, we have arrived back at the present day:
January 6, 2020
What does Gardner think about news that former National Security Adviser John Bolton is willing to testify in an impeachment trial? Squirrel!
Cory Gardner dodged when asked about having Bolton as a witness: “Is Nancy going to send the articles over? She doesn’t seem to care?”
— Emily Cochrane (@ESCochrane) January 6, 2020
We don’t pretend to understand the political or strategic calculations behind Gardner’s consistent dodginess, but there’s simply no denying that inaccessibility is the Gardner brand.
Isn’t he required to come out, on the record, about something pretty soon, . . .
. . . for Groundweasel Day???
He's probably polishing his bona fides to become Phil Anschutz's public spokesperson after next November’s election.
But, how is this behavior affecting his poll numbers?
Do we have any polls?
Real clear has hick +13 over Gardner.
Morning Consult does a tracking poll on Senator approval / disapproval, but only posts quarterly. Last result is labelled Q3, 2019 — shows Cory Net approval: as
All voters -3; Democrats -27; Republicans +30; Independents -10
Most recent head-to-head I've seen is
Keating Research (D) October 10–14, 2019 500± 4.4%
Gardner 42% Hickenlooper 53% Other 2% Undecided 3%
Only head to head on Real Clear Politics is Emerson's August poll.
Gardner is relying on the wedge issues (NPV recall, Citizenship Qualification of Electors) to drive his turnout; a tactic institutionalized by Rove, Atwater, etc