Cory Gardner Has a Coronavirus Testing Problem

Say anything? Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma)

President Trump held his first campaign rally in three months on Saturday when he dropped in on Tulsa, Oklahoma. In case you missed it, there were two big storylines that emerged from Saturday’s rally.

The first big story was the crowd size. After touting more than 800,000 RSVPs and promoting a huge crowd in Tulsa, only about 6,200 people actually showed up to a venue that seats 19,000. The Trump campaign anticipated an additional 40,000 people to fill an outdoor overflow area; instead they got about 25 stragglers and ended up scrapping a planned Trump speech outside.

The second big story came from Trump’s eventual speech inside the Bank of Oklahoma Center, when the President literally bragged to the crowd that he instructed officials to SLOW DOWN COVID-19 testing because too many people were testing positive for the virus. From The Washington Post:

“Here’s the bad part … when you do testing to that extent, you’re going to find more people; you’re going to find more cases,” Trump told his supporters. “So I said to my people, slow the testing down please.”

Today, Joe St. George, National Political Editor & Washington Correspondent for Scripps (and formerly of Fox 31 News in Denver) asked President Trump — twice — to confirm this statement. Trump dodged both questions:

Here’s St. George’s follow-up question about slowing down coronavirus testing:

ST. GEORGE: But did you ask to slow [testing] down?

TRUMP: Uhhh…if it did slow down, frankly, I think we’re way ahead of ourselves if you want to know the truth. We’ve done too good a job, because every time we go up…with 25 million tests you’re going to find more people, so then they say, ‘Oh, we have more cases in the United States.’ The reason we have more cases: Because we do more testing than any other country by far.

We’ll take that as a ‘Yes.’ (BTW, The New York Times already fact-checked Trump’s claim that the U.S. is the coronavirus testing champion of the world).

When the coronavirus outbreak first became a daily news headline in March, President Trump paid lip service to the importance of increasing COVID-19 testing in the United States. When it became clear soon afterward that said testing was not happening and was not likely to be taking place anytime soon, Trump started to poo-poo the idea that testing was important at all (here’s just one example of Trump saying that widespread testing is “overrated”).

“I’ve encouraged the President and Vice President to get the testing where it should be.”

   — Sen. Cory Gardner (Ft. Morgan Times, 3/27/20)

All of this puts Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) in a very awkward position, because Gardner has consistently stated that “widespread testing will be key” to American’s recovery from the pandemic. If they can find him, reporters will be asking Gardner what he thinks about Trump’s claim that he ordered COVID-19 testing to be scaled back. Gardner does NOT want to criticize Trump publicly, so he’ll likely pretend that he was in a coma all weekend and was unaware that Dear Leader Trump said anything controversial. And then Gardner will dive into an elevator just as the doors slam shut.

“Widespread testing will be key to reopening our economy.”

   — Sen. Cory Gardner (Twitter, 5/8/20)

The problem that Gardner is eventually going to be forced to square is that he himself has been unambiguous about the importance of COVID-19 testing in the United States. It was less than two months ago, in fact, that Gardner was talking about how he wanted every American to be able to get a COVID-19 test along with their Slurpee. As Gardner told the publication formerly known as The Colorado Statesman on April 24:

“We’ll continue to make sure that this Manhattan Project funding that we put into testing achieves what we need — and that is a ubiquitous, low-cost, rapid test that’s available everywhere in first aid kits and 7-Elevens.”

When workers at the JBS meatpacking plant in Greeley were getting sick from COVID-19, Gardner and Vice President Mike Pence loudly proclaimed that they had come to save the day with boxes of tests in tow. As it turned out, that didn’t actually happen, but Gardner has continued to talk about coronavirus testing.

“I will continue fighting every day to increase our testing capacity.”

   — Sen. Cory Gardner (Grand Junction Sentinel Op-Ed, 5/9/20)

Last month, Gardner penned an Op-Ed for The Grand Junction Sentinel that was almost entirely focused on the “importance” of widespread coronavirus testing:

Without effective, widespread testing and a corresponding strategy that leverages and improves public health infrastructure to support monitoring, we cannot have a real-time response to the virus. Rapid testing and the ability for public health departments to inform individuals with positive cases quickly so they can take appropriate action and prevent further spread is critical to making sure that our entire economy is not forced to shut down in the future.

I’d like our country to get to the place where COVID-19 testing is available at the local corner store. Every doctor’s office should have the capability to screen patients for COVID-19. Families at home should be able to order tests online. Every business should have COVID-19 tests in its first aid kits and be able to offer on-site testing for employees. Every student should be able to go to the nurse’s office and get a test.

Gardner has the same problem here that he has with DACA and many other issues: Either he’s lying about the work he’s doing to actually ramp up COVID-19 testing — “I will continue fighting every day to increase our testing capacity” — or he’s been completely ineffective at his job. Actually, as Gardner’s record has demonstrated, BOTH of these statements might be true.

Now that Trump has flat-out admitted that he’s trying to hamstring coronavirus testing efforts in the U.S., Gardner has a choice to make. It’s time to put up or shut up.

17 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Gilpin Guy says:

    How can anyone consider Trump's comments funny?  What is the joke that makes it clever and funny.

  2. MichaelBowman says:

    From the same clown that proudly voted 60 times to Repeal and Replace! (without actually ever having a replacement plan). 


  3. JohnInDenver says:

    Has Cory explained what he considers to be the appropriate level of testing?  And the mix of initial tests, follow-up testing, and routine testing of all those at sites thought to be at risk?  And if we test at that level, will it turn up more cases?

  4. gertie97 says:

    Cory won't put up or shut up. He'll keep dodging questions about Trump and hope his teevee spots are enough to let him skate through.

  5. Moderatus says:

    The key to reopening the economy is to reopen the economy. We have done more to hurt people by cutting off their incomes than the coronavirus would have hurt. The lockdowns were a terrible mistake.

    • unnamed says:

      Speaking of big mistakes:

      6 ways the Trump administration has already botched responding to the coronavirus


      1. Sick and healthy passengers from a quarantined cruise ship were sent on the same flight home.

      2. Despite telling Americans to get tested for the virus, US health agencies are behind the eight-ball with testing lagging behind.

      3. A coronavirus patient in California wasn't tested for days.

      4. CDC testing has been limited, so the full extent of the virus stateside is hard to pin down.

      5. On top of all that, Trump has made funding cuts to the CDC over the past two years.

      6. A US patient infected with the coronavirus was accidentally released from the hospital after initial tests failed to pick up symptoms.

      I will at a seventh: calling COVID a hoax until it hit our shores with a vengeance.  Those were mistakes, nutlid.  Mistakes that cost over 100,000 lives

      Shutting down the economy was in an effort to safeguard lives.  You know.  That thing you claim to care about only when it serves your purposes.  But by all means, tell the loved ones of the 100,000 who died thanks to your dear leader and his party's failings that they should be glad they died for the economy, and that you would gladly sacrifice 100,000 more people for the economy.

    • unnamed says:

      Also, what do you have to say about Trump's slowing down testing remarks?

      • Diogenesdemar says:

        Uhhhh . . . every Fluffy one knows that testing only slows down the economy because the invisible hand, bootstraps, socialism, rubber-soled shoes, unionization, massive voter fraud, and antifa???!!

        When was the last time you ever heard of anyone being tested for stable geniushood???

    • spaceman65 says:

      The lockdowns saved tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of American lives, Moddy.  If that's your definition of mistake, then you really are the dolt we all think you are.  You can choose to disregard science, you can pretend you understand, but the fact is that the lockdowns were essential, and frankly, should've started sooner.  Fuck you and your economic bullshit.  I'm not willing to die for you delusions. 

    • RepealAndReplace says:

      Stay the course senator! Some day those who haven't died will thank you.

    • kickshot says:

      A faster response could have prevented most U.S. Covid-19 deaths

      Dump’s lies about the travel ban saving lives are transparent and self-serving.

      He has American blood on his hands


    • JohnInDenver says:

      Hey, Moderatus …

      Can you show your math?  How do you measure "hurt" to show that loss of income is worse? 

      Public Health agencies, like CDPHE are responsible for all sorts of issues, including suicide, drug addiction & its harms, accidents, pollution impacts, and so on.  Can you find ANY public health official who works for a state agency who agrees that the "shutdown" to cut incomes is worse than the coronavirus would have hurt? 

  6. davebarnes says:

    Meaningless nit picking.

    The Senate race will come down to Hick=nice guy vs Cory=nose up Trump’s ass.

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