TUESDAY UPDATE: Sen. Cory Gardner’s tele-town hall yesterday featured as much excitement as was possible with the ability to mute whatever he didn’t like:
In the video clip above, you can see several of Gardner’s extremely evasive answers to questions about investigating President Donald Trump, Trump’s tax returns, and excessive costs of the President’s travel. In the first clip, Gardner gives a long, rambling response about not having “the facts” to be able to speak about it. In the second, Gardner bizarrely says that everyone in politics should have “the opportunity” to release their taxes–as if they didn’t? In the third, Gardner dodges the question of the frequency and expense of President Trump’s travel by saying all Presidents should have security.
There has been very little reporting about the contents of Gardner’s conference call yesterday, but we expect that any reporter who does dive into what was actually said will find plenty of story to tell here. Once again, Gardner’s fabled coolness under fire doesn’t look so cool on live video–even without the heckling he avoids by not holding face-to-face meeting with his constituents.
An announcement went out last weekend from Sen. Cory Gardner’s office about a tele-town hall meeting he’s holding this evening at 5:45PM:
It doesn’t appear that there was much notice for this event–Gardner’s office has kept a list of prospective tele-town hall participants from the signups to previous events, but the first announcement from Gardner’s office about today’s call seems to have been Saturday afternoon. Needless to say, that doesn’t leave busy constituents with much time to schedule.
Tele-town halls have been Sen. Gardner’s sole means of outreach to ordinary constituents since President Donald Trump took office in January. As of this writing, Gardner is the only member of Colorado’s delegation in either party who has not yet held a face-to-face event with anyone other than invitation-only and/or corporate audiences.
The reason is simple: live audiences don’t have mute buttons.
In response to this latest announcement, the Facebook responses to Gardner have been…well, rather uncharitable:
As of now there are almost 440 such replies to this event posting on Facebook–many featuring language that’s not fit for a family show. Safe to say, Gardner’s half-hearted attempts at “constituent outreach” are not having the desired effect. After Rep. Mike Coffman faced a harsh grilling from his constituents but still managed to say something nice about the experience, Gardner’s refusal to show constituents the same respect stands out even more.
At this point, we don’t get it. Fake accountability like this is much more politically-damaging for Gardner than if he would just simply take his proverbial medicine. That Gardner still can’t see the cost/benefit in doing so may be evidence that he’s just not the political mastermind he’s chalked up to be in many circles.
Maybe Gardner really is a coward.
Liberals have no rights to be abusive to others. I don't blame Gardner a bit for not subjecting himself to insults and possible violence.
If liberals want to be talked to like adults, they need to act like adults. Your pussy hats and bad manners win you no friends.
So basically, you're saying all we need to do to make this behavior Okie Dokie with you is to change our party registration to the GOP, right? Oh, and wear a Tri-cornered hat I suppose…
And hoist the yellow flag with the snake on it.
So Moldy. When do you start acting like an adult? Then we can start treating you like one.
Why is it okay for you regressive nutballs to abuse Democratic electeds with possible threats of violence and yet these electeds still are accountable to you but a fellow regressive US senator Isn't accountable to his unpaid constituents who are worried about the direction his party is taking things? Get your head out of your entitled ass.
And where is my ACA article Moldy?
Remember what President Truman said about politicians: If you can't take the heat get out of the kitchen.
In Senator Gardner's case, if he met with his constituents face-to-face we could use synonyms for courage like brave, fearless, dauntless, fortitude, gallant, guts, intrepid, nerve, pluck, resolute and others but, alas, we cannot. The only word that fits is coward.
The only thing liberals, conservatives and unaffiliated Colorado voters want to do is meet with Senator Gardner face-to-face. Part of an elected officials job description is to face the good with the bad and the praise along with the insults. Hiding behind a telephone doesn't say much for his character and it certainly isn't courageous.
Yes, because holding rational discussions on important issues is so abusive. Well, I guess it is for unqualified berks like Cory.
Yep, and maybe water is wet. 🙂
When Mike Friggin' Coffman of all people outdistances you in political courage, there's a substantial issue.
You got a point there, Judge.
So Gardner's been talking for almost 20 minutes now. Hasn't said a darn thing except the most banal generalities.
Q:Trump's tax returns?A: Everyone should have "the opportunity" to release tax returns.
Q:Public lands protection? A:'m in favor of it.
Q:Privacy? A:Of course you still have your privacy – nobody can sell your online info.
Q: Trump / Russia? A: It's important to maintain accountability and transparency.
Q:When will you hold an in-person town hall?A: Town halls are important, I held 100 town halls last year.
Q:What will the Republican bill do for people with pre-existing conditions? A:My mother had breast cancer, my father's ill. It's important that they have access to affordable care. Coverage for pre-existing conditions has to be a part of the health bill. Through risk pools and other innovative ideas.
Q:What about gay men in Chechnya? Concentration camps, torture. Russia's denied responsibility. Do you think we should do more to call out these human rights abuses? More appropriate coming from executive or legislative branch?
A: I've been vocal about condemning this. It should come from the UN, the President, Congress, etc.
Q: Are you in favor of LGBTQ protections? A: Have to consider not creating a litigation environment. Of course, I'd "consider it".
Q: The Wall. Trump's tax returns, travel time, conflicts of interest. How will you vote?
A: I don't support a government shutdown. I don't think it would be appropriate to shut down the government over a conversation about border security. About 28 minutes in.
That last was the only newsworthy thing Gardner's said yet, and the only actual answer.
If someone wants to record the video, it's live on his website. I'm recording the sound.
Good summary. He completely dodged a number of issues including conflicts of interest of Trump and his family, and the need for a timely, comprehensive, independent investigation into the Trump/Russia connection. He took every opportunity possible to ramble on and on about things that were not directly part of any question. I was supposed to get a call – I didn't. I submitted questions online – they weren't answered. Really poorly done.
Here's the sound file of the town hall.
I stopped live-blogging it after 20 minutes or so, partly because people kept asking the same questions about health care, public lands, when Cory will meet with them, Trump scandals, the EPA, Syria, and he kept on giving these bland non-answers.
It's like Gardner has complete contempt for the 11,000 or so people who took an hour of their own personal time to try to get some real answers from him about issues of deep concern to them. Life and death stuff. And he just is inwardly laughing at how cleverly he dodges a real response, and blows off those concerns.
It's hard to even fact-check him because he avoids any specifics. I know he hasn't had anywhere near the 100 town halls in the last year that he claimed, twice, to have had. His event calendar shows 3 phone town halls in the last year, several constituent meetings with special interest groups such as the Colorado Space Coalition, and Club 20 (a chamber of commerce group) in Grand Junction. Maybe he's counting the "with or without you" town hall in which his desperate constituents vented their concerns to a cardboard cut out of the Senator.
It pisses me off.
100 townhalls last year? Yeah, that's Con Man Cory-speak for "I met with donors who gave me at least $10,000 one hundred times last year"