Mike Coffman Won’t Solve His Trump Conundrum

Rep. Mike Coffman can relate to these babies.

Rep. Mike Coffman can relate to these Colorado babies.

Congressman Mike Coffman has no idea what to do about Donald Trump.

In any other election year, an incumbent Republican Congressman in a swing state wouldn’t give much thought to backing the Republican candidate for President. It is unusual, to say the least, for an incumbent Republican such as Coffman to repeatedly decline to explain whether or not he supports his Party’s nominee for President – particularly when you consider that there are now less than 100 days until Election Day.

On Sunday, Coffman’s name appeared in a prominent New York Times story about a Republican backlash against Trump in the midst of Trump’s prolonged verbal battle with Gold Star parents Khizr and Ghazala Khan. Coffman is quoted by the Times as saying he is “deeply offended” that Trump would criticize anyone who has lost a loved one to military service. Over the weekend, Coffman also sent out this message attacking his Democratic opponent in CD-6, state Sen. Morgan Carroll:

“I’ve made it clear where I disagree with Donald Trump. State Senator Morgan Carroll in in such lock step (sic) with Hillary Clinton that you’d think they were running mates.”

In typical contradictory Coffman fashion, the Aurora Republican is trying to make you believe that he might oppose Donald Trump for President while never actually saying that he opposes Donald Trump for President. Coffman criticizes Carroll for backing Clinton – an endorsement that Carroll has already made plain – but he won’t even take a side in the Presidential race. How is it more admirable that Coffman waffles on the very future of our country when his opponent does not? Coffman wants voters in CD-6 to choose him over Carroll; should Coffman not be asked to voice his choice for the top of the ballot?

Coffman may criticize Trump from time to time, but in February his spokesperson said that Coffman would “obviously” support the Republican nominee for President. Coffman won’t actually say that himself, but he also won’t say that he does not support Trump; as politically petrified of Trump as Coffman may be, he still isn’t willing to make it known to thousands of Trump backers in CD-6 that he is not on their side. Coffman can’t get re-elected unless Trump voters also check the box for him in the fall, so for now he remains in Presidential preference purgatory.

How long can Coffman maintain this political tap-dance where he sort-of-but-not-really refutes Trump? As Greg Sargent writes for the Washington Post on Monday, Coffman’s non-position on Trump is rapidly becoming untenable:

Donald Trump’s continuing war with the Khan family — which Trump inexplicably continued to keep in the news this morning with a series of new tweets — raises the specter of a brutal trap for Republicans.

It’s this: If individual Republicans don’t break off their support for Trump’s candidacy now — by, say, withdrawing their endorsements — they run the risk of having no choice but to do so after Trump sinks even further into wretchedness and depravity, to a point of true no return. (Presumably there is such a point.) At that juncture, their move will look unprincipled and desperate, leaving them stained — perhaps irrevocably — with their previous willingness to stick by him during much of his descent, and depriving their break with him of whatever moral force it might have had if done earlier. [Pols emphasis]

As some Republicans are already remarking, Trump’s battle with the Khan family makes it harder and harder to avoid acknowledging the possibility that we really have no idea how low Trump will sink.

Plenty of elected Republicans have publicly said that they do not – and will not – support Trump for President, so it’s not as though Coffman would be wading into uncharted waters here. It wouldn’t take any moral conviction or strength of character for Coffman to denounce Trump now, but Coffman is more concerned about what potential voters will think of him if he actually picks a side.

Many Republicans have apparently decided that Trump’s continued attacks on the Khan family have crossed their moral line and disqualifies Trump from receiving their support. This is not Coffman’s position. Not today, anyway.

Coffman’s spokesperson is on the record saying that he would support Trump, but the Congressman won’t say whether or not that statement is accurate. Perhaps Coffman is waiting for Trump to sink “even further into wretchedness and depravity,” as Sargent writes, before Coffman will take an actual position on the Republican Presidential nominee. This is a dangerous strategy for Coffman, because if Trump does continue to sink lower and lower, Coffman will have to answer another question as well: “How is it that you waited to take a position on Trump until now?”

Mike Coffman is notorious for claiming to be for and against a lot of different things, but it’s not possible to remain publicly ambivalent about Donald Trump.

21 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. JohnInDenver says:

    Still waiting for a statement from Senator Gardner, too. Perhaps he's too busy at the Koch meeting to bother responding.

  2. Moderatus says:

    You do know that this is how half the country feels about Hillary.

  3. itlduso says:

    Coffman = Trump = Coffman.

  4. RavenDawg says:

    Is this Mike "wrap yourself in the flag" Coffman, proud Iraq Green Zone war hero we are talking about? 

  5. BlueCat says:

    Will this help any of those Republicans make a decision? Naah! Just keep tweeting, Donald.

    According to a new Gallup poll, the 2016 Republican National Convention marked the first time in history in which more voters said they were less likely to vote for a party’s nominee after its convention than those who said they were now more likely to do so. Fifty-one percent of surveyed Americans said they were less likely to vote for Trump after the GOP convention in Cleveland, while only 36 percent said they were more likley to cast their ballot for him. After last week’s Democratic convention in Philadelphia, however, 45 percent said they were more likely to now vote for Hillary Clinton, and 41 percent said they were less likely. 


    And because I’m pretty sure Moddy doesn’t know what these numbers mean and will want to crow about that 41%. … what it means , Moddy, is HRC got a small net comfort level bump out of her convention while Trump got a double digit net loss out of his. See how that works?

    She’s also increasing her lead in polls and Obama’s approval ratings are on their way back up again after a slight RNC week slump that never took his average out of positive territory.

    Got any cracks about the VFW being a shill for Clinton? They’re blasting Trump too so I guess they must be, right, Moddy? Can’t wait to see Trump’s tweets “hitting back” at the VFW. Those ought to do the GOP a whole lot of good.

    • Diogenesdemar says:

      Didn't they listen to Chachi?!?

      • BlueCat says:

        Apparently they hated whoever they listened to because this is the first time a presidential candidate has come way from their party's convention with more people feeling less likely to vote for them, much less by negative 15. For comparison Romney was up 2 which makes him up 17 compared to Trump. 

        Trump's final night got better ratings than HRC's but he would have been better off if no one had watched any of it. His greatest show on earth was a bust and he's already saying the election will probably be rigged, a ready made excuse so when he loses it will be because of a conspiracy…. not because he's a loser.

  6. FrankUnderwood says:

    The Wrath of the Khan Dust-up Continues….. Day Five!

    This should have been a 24-hour news cycle story but thanks to the wisdom of Herr Drumpf – with his very good brain – it is now in Day 5.

    And there's a subplot that's developed:  Trump Shill Cory Lewandowski got into it with HRC Shill Christine Quinn last night and told her to not touch him while they were arguing about the Khan incident. (Lewandowski, of course, is a man who knows something about touching people.)

    Finally, U.S. Representative Richard Hanna (R-NY) has come out as the first – and probably not the last – Republican House member to not only denounce Herr Drumpf but to announce that he will actually vote for HRC in November!


    What the Clinton campaign needs to do next is maneuver Trump into agreeing to be interviewed by a very aggressive woman journalist and then give him a few days to comment on her.

  7. Craig says:

    Does he think Hillary is actually unpopular in his district???? While in his bubble she may be unpopular I doubt Trump will come within 10 points of Hillary in the general. 

  8. JohnInDenver says:

    And today's update:

    “Rep. Coffman has not endorsed Trump,” said Cinamon Watson, a spokeswoman for Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.). “In fact, Rep. Coffman has voiced grave concern about Mr. Trump’s policies and his tone.”



  9. BlueCat says:

    Pretty obvious that Trump's inability to get a clue is the reason the condemnations from  VFW, military families and a few GOPers keep pouring in. While he's pre-complaining about a rigged election others might be tempted to accuse him of being a double agent doing the rigging. But they would be wrong.

    He isn't purposely sabotaging himself and the GOP. He's just doing what comes naturally to a Narcissist/Sociopath.  Here's an article in which those who served with Captain Khan, both as soldiers under his command and as his commanding officers, remember him. To put it mildly, they obviously thought the world of him and are not amused. Doesn't pissing off troops, vets and their families seem like an odd choice for a presidential campaign? In this country? On this planet? Post 9/11? Oh well….




  10. ZMulls says:

    I suggest that constituents and other concerned citizens ask Coffman on Twitter whether he supports Donald Trump's candidacy. @RepMikeCoffman

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