After nearly two weeks of trying, a reporter finally got outgoing Sen. Cory Gardner to utter words in response to the terminal crisis of Donald Trump’s out-of-control presidency–Trump’s refusal to acknowledge the results of an election that no reasonable observer has found any reason to question the results of.
Free of the obligation to defend a unified Republican ticket in a state Republicans have been losing for 15 years and at an accelerated pace since Trump took office, did Gardner finally summon up the spine to admit the obvious, and call for the peaceful transfer of power he assured us would take place when Trump suggested delaying the election back in July?
Sorry to disappoint you, folks.
Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) when asked if he considers Joe Biden the president-elect:
“You’re going to play gotcha questions with me? You guys, just come on. I’m not going to play your gotcha questions. I’m not going to play your games. I’m tired of it.”
— Alex Bolton (@alexanderbolton) November 17, 2020
The only thing we can say in response to this latest and perhaps final refusal by Sen. Gardner to keep the promise he made to voters in 2014, “when my party is wrong, I’ll say it,” is that it strongly indicates something more than political expedience at work in Gardner’s loyalty to Donald Trump. After Gardner called on Trump to pull out of the presidential race in October of 2016, Gardner’s swift about-face into one of Trump’s most indefatigable defenders ran directly counter to the preference of a majority of Colorado voters–even many Colorado Republicans, who had tried to make the state an example of Republican resistance to Trump by locking down for Ted Cruz at the 2016 GOP state assembly.
Cory Gardner had countless opportunities to meaningfully separate from Trump, plotting a careful course like neighboring Sens. Mitt Romney and Ben Sasse to exit the Trump era with their reputations intact in much redder states. Trump’s divisiveness created a bright white line between his supporters and the rest of the country, and Gardner stayed with his President even though that clearly meant aligning with a minority of Colorado voters. In setting the stage for Gardner’s widely anticipated defeat, there was a rush to make excuses for Gardner’s very deliberate choice to stay loyal to Trump over Colorado.
None of those excuses explain why Gardner is still covering for Trump now.