CNN’s Manu Raju reports today on the growing crisis for vulnerable Republican incumbent Senators like Cory Gardner of Colorado as President Donald Trump’s dangerous incompetence during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic threatens to further reduce their chances of their careers surviving the November elections. On the latest looney development from the White House, Trump’s announcement yesterday that he has been taking the controversial drug hydroxychloroquine as a “preventative” measure despite a lack of evidence that the drug is effective or even safe, CNN tried to get a reaction out of Gardner.
This is what they got:
Asked if Trump should be giving medical advice, Sen. Cory Gardner said: “I’m going to continue to work with the governor of Colorado and make sure Coloradans have what they need to get through this together, focusing on individual relief, focus on the economy, focusing on the health emergency, that’s what I am 100% focused on.”
Gardner, up for reelection in a swing state, pointed to his work with Democratic Gov. Jared Polis when asked if he believes Trump’s done a good job in managing the crisis.
“There’s going to be everybody asking that question,” Gardner told CNN. [Pols emphasis] “But what we have to do is do better and better every minute, and that’s similar to what the governor of Colorado said yesterday.”
The reason everybody is “asking that question,” that is the question of whether President Trump should be giving out medical advice that directly contradicts the recommendations of his own public health authorities, is because it is arguably the most important question in American politics today. Gardner responds like he’s talking about an offensive radio host instead of the President of the United States. This is the man Gardner has endorsed for re-election in 2020, and that means Gardner must answer for the outrageous and dangerous misinformation that flows out of Trump’s mouth on a daily basis.
The failure of Gardner’s strategy for managing Trump is evident in every poll that shows Gardner even less popular than the President in Colorado. After years of giving answers to questions about Trump that everyone can see are intelligence-insulting evasions, failing either to fully stand behind or condemn the President’s innumerable controversies, Gardner’s credibility has been irreparably damaged on both the left and with the Republican base. In the absence of clear statements in response to news events that dominate the headlines, Gardner’s evasion combines with the image of Trump and Gardner hugging it out in Colorado Springs last February to tell voters all they need to know.
The reason Gardner isn’t changing course is simple: he’s out of options. If Gardner turns on the President after Trump declared Gardner with him “100%,” Gardner loses the GOP base and guarantees his double-digit defeat in November. Staying loyal through the election is now the only viable political choice that Gardner has, no matter how difficult Trump makes it.
And Trump is far from done. For Cory Gardner, November is both right around the corner and an eternity away.