Several local news outlets are collaborating to write a series of what’s known in the business as “human interest stories” about various public and ordinary figures in Colorado during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Such coverage works to avoid political and frankly any sort of controversy, and focus on the “human element” with a more expository and less critical tone.
Politicians of all stripes love these stories, since it’s about the friendliest news coverage they ever get–with lots of opportunities for ingratiation and rapport building and little risk of hard questions of the kind that have of late bedeviled Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado in particular, as he has struggled to answer for President Donald Trump’s misdeeds leading to impeachment and now mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
So when Jesse Paul of the Colorado Sun called to talk to Sen. Gardner about the softer side of how life is going during the pandemic, Gardner was happy to oblige!
“Our 16-year-old daughter has been elevated to our chief technology officer in the Gardner household,” he said. “Every meeting I take, it seems like I have to download a new app.”
And really, isn’t everybody’s teenage kid now the master of technology in this crazy new world? We cracked a smile. Here’s something we can all relate to. And then we realize it’s working: we’re starting to feel this tiny little bit of rapport with Cory Gardner.
But then the story continues:
But unlike the rest of us, Gardner’s conversations and video calls are much more consequential. On the morning of April 16, he was speaking to President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, along with other senators, about reopening the nation’s economy.
Gardner has been regularly speaking with Trump through the crisis. [Pols emphasis] He said the president recently called late at night to pick his brain about phasing Americans back into their normal lives.
With that, at least for the solid majority of Coloradans who don’t approve of Trump’s handling of the pandemic, the good feelings screech to a halt. Because once the reader processes the fact that Gardner is talking to Trump personally on a regular basis, a painfully obvious question arises:
What the hell are Gardner and Trump talking about?
Obviously, this explains how Gardner was able to prevail on Trump to give Colorado back 100 of the 500 ventilators we tried to buy and were thwarted by the Trump administration. But what about the protests Trump supported against governors like Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, who Gardner also says he supports and talks to regularly? What about Colorado hospitals stopping the use of hydroxychloroquine, which Trump has dangerously hyped for months as a miracle drug?
Because Gardner steadfastly refuses to criticize the Trump administration’s chronic and deepening mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic, the admission in this puff piece that Gardner is regularly in contact with the president personally while Trump’s awful press piles up hurts Gardner much more than anecdotes about making dinner with the family help him. Gardner’s well-earned reputation for servility to Trump means we all know he’s not in any way criticizing the president on these calls, any more than Trump’s top health officials have the courage to call out his absurd ramblings during their daily briefings.