Coffman Reels From Trump “Distancing” Blowback

GOP Rep. Mike Coffman’s attempt to firewall himself from the rapidly self-immolating presidential campaign of his party’s nominee Donald Trump appears to have backfired to a far greater degree than either his campaign or conventional wisdom could have predicted. After a “soft launch” of Coffman’s new ad stating he “doesn’t care much” for Trump yesterday, the Colorado press corps zeroed in on the bottom-line question:

9NEWS: “Would you rule out supporting Donald Trump for president?”

COFFMAN: “No.” [Pols emphasis]

Coffman gave a similar answer yesterday to Denver7’s Marshall Zelinger:

Adding the additional detail that he has spoken with the Libertarian vice presidential nominee Bill Weld. But the fact is, as soon as Coffman admitted that despite the clear impression given in this ad that he might indeed vote for Donald Trump, the whole exercise became a failure. Denver Post:

“People ask me, ‘What do you think about Trump?’ Honestly, I don’t care for him much,” Coffman says in the ad. “I’m a Marine. My duty is always to you. So if Donald Trump is the president, I’ll stand up to him. Plain and simple. And if Hillary (Clinton) wins, I’ll hold her accountable every step of the way.”

He did not rule out voting for Trump in November, [Pols emphasis] but a spokeswoman said he is considering other candidates.


Coffman said he draws a distinction between a possible vote for Trump and a formal endorsement of his party’s candidate [Pols emphasis]—but that he might not give Trump either.


“Do people ask you, ‘Are you going to vote for Trump?'” asked Denver7 political reporter Marshall Zelinger.

“I’m running my own campaign, and the purpose of the ad is not whether I’m voting for Trump or not, [Pols emphasis] the purpose of this ad is to send a message to the people of my Congressional District that I will represent them whoever is in the White House,” said Coffman.

“They’re going to want to know, who are you going to vote for based on not liking either?” said Zelinger.

Huffington Post:

Watson said Thursday that “Hillary Clinton is not an option” and that Coffman will not vote for her. She did not directly answer whether he has ruled out voting for Trump…

The Wall Street Journal covers Democrats eagerly pouncing on Coffman’s indecision:

The House Democrats’ campaign arm on Thursday evening taunted Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman, challenging him to declare he wouldn’t vote for Donald Trump [Pols emphasis] a day after Mr. Coffman aired an advertisement expressing his opposition to the Republican presidential nominee…

“Mike Coffman stood by Trump while he denigrated women, mocked people with disabilities, and threatened our national security,” said DCCC spokesperson Tyler Law. “Ultimately, it’s out-of-touch politicians like Mike Coffman that paved the way for Donald Trump – and we are not going to let Coloradans forget that.”

Here’s the response ad from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC):


Roll Call:

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee made a $10,000 cable television buy Friday afternoon for an ad that pushes back on Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman’s assertion that he’d stand up to Donald Trump if he’s elected president…

Democrats won’t accept that Coffman isn’t standing with Trump. The vulnerable Republican has not said that he won’t vote for him November.

“Wait, you’re the one who said you’d support him,” the narrator in the DCCC ad says. “Don’t let Mike Coffman get away with this gimmick.”

In short, Coffman is getting a fair amount press coverage from his ad “distancing himself” from Trump–but by waffling on the implied point of the ad before it even began airing, he has squandered the effort. News reports indicate that the media buy for this anti-Trump ad is quite small, with the apparent strategy being to earn secondary media coverage from the ad’s content–not to buy exposure.

Unfortunately for Coffman, the press he’s earned hurts both himself and his party’s nominee.

15 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. bullshit! says:

    Trump is either going to tank now or recover somewhat before losing in November. I personally think it's going to be the latter. It's possible that Coffman was trying to keep this quiet enough to take it back. If so he's an idiot, but…

  2. davebarnes says:

    That is "Mitchell Zelinger" to you.

  3. Early Worm says:

    "What do you think about Trump?’ Honestly, I don’t care for him much." Two irritating things about this. Anytime anyone, especially a politician, starts a sentence with "Honestly," you know that he/she is not in the habit of being honest.  Why else do they need to call out this particular statement as honest.

    Second, who gives a rat's ass about whether you "care for him." Is he fit to be president? Is he a better or worse choice than Clinton?  The answers to these questions would be useful and telling. Reporters – please keep asking him.  Don't let him dodge. 

  4. itlduso says:

    Mike Coffman now says "he doesn't care for Donald Trump very much."  Yet, he does not rule out voting for Trump in November.  Conservative columnist David Brooks calls Republicans like Coffman a "wet noodle Republican".  These are GOP officeholders "who weren't really for Trump, but they weren't really against him.  …They made little apologetic comments so you would still like them even though they were doing this shameful thing." 
    Mike Coffman also says "if Donald Trump is the president, I will stand up to him."  I haven't seen a wet noodle stand up to anything. Have you?

  5. Moderatus says:

    Translation: Coffman is a brilliant politician and Democrats HATE IT.

  6. FrankUnderwood says:

    Coffman is making Bob Beauprez look like the rock of Gibraltar when it comes to standing firm.

  7. Civics101 says:

    Obviously, you missed the Denver Post's editorial board post this evening.  They seemed to, specifically, be speaking to the Progressive Playpen, when they wrote:

    But it strikes us as odd for Coffman’s liberal critics to demand for months that he clearly state whether he would support Trump and then cry foul once he does not.

    I hope Morgan Carroll isn't counting on the Denver Post to endorse her uninspiring campaign in October.

  8. Civics101 says:

    What a pathetic response from the DCCC.  Instead of printing, or saying the quote, they want, they put up Colorado Statesman 02/02/2016.

    I have to believe that is going to go right over the average voter's' head.  Unless one is a political junkie, they are not even going to know what the Colorado Statesman is.  I do not believe they are going to take the time to dig around online to find the 02/02/2016 edition (besides, I think you need a paid subscription to do that) and read through the entire paper to find what the DCCC meant, but isn't saying.  What a waste of money!


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