U.S. Sen Cory Gardner (R-CO) is taking heat from conservative talk radio hosts and listeners on Colorado talk radio, following his strong statements condemning white supremacy in light of a violent “Unite the Right” rally and counter-protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, where one counter-protestor was killed and many more were injured.
In a survey of Colorado voters earlier this month, Public Policy Polling revealed that Cory Gardner’s approval rating has fallen to 24%, which positions the junior Senator from Colorado – who also chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee – 16 points below President Trump’s rating in the same poll.
That result should have caused some consternation among the Colorado GOP and national Republican operatives. Gardner’s position as NRSC Chairman, his pivotal role in supporting multiple attempts to repeal and/or replace the Affordable Care Act, his staunch public commentary in response to North Korean threats, and his loyalty to Trump’s legislative agenda and cabinet picks gave the impression that his favorability with Colorado conservatives was solid.
But as bad as the polling results are for him, things may have just gotten worse for Gardner among conservatives.
Gardner has been under pressure from constituents to hold in-person town hall meetings to address healthcare reform and other issues which Republican controlled Congress and the Trump administration have slated on their agendas. He held three town hall meetings on Tuesday, after a 16 month town hall hiatus, where he repeated his condemnation of white supremacy.
Beginning last Saturday and culminating in an off-script contentious exchange at a press conference Tuesday, President Trump has issued equivocating statements regarding which side (or sides) were responsible for the violence, and asserting a moral equivalency between the white nationalists and counter-protestors.
Gardner’s original tweet condemning racism following Trump’s Saturday comments is apparently where the Senator got sideways with some of Trump’s base in Colorado.
On at least two Colorado conservative talk radio shows on Monday, August 14, hosts and listeners calling into the show revealed their frustrations with Gardner.
From Monday’s edition of the Richard Randall Show (KVOR, 740am in Colorado Springs):
CALLER: Cory Gardner –I’m not going to denounce this guy, but I’ll tell you what, I’m not going to vote for the guy! Nor will I vote for any other politician who is pouncing on the opportunity to throw rocks at President Trump. Again, he said the right things.
HOST RICHARD RANDALL: […] You know, Cory Gardner has been noticeably absent, by and large, from media here in Colorado, unless he knows it’s going to be softballs. He’s been invited to be on the program numerous times. My feeling is, I don’t see a lot of support for Donald Trump coming from Cory Gardner. I don’t know if that’s a personal belief, or whether it’s a political calculation that in order to be reelected in Colorado he needs to not do that sort of thing. Or it’s political calculation that somebody tells him, “Well, you need to call on stronger language from Trump because that’s what everybody’s doing so if you want to be like –.” I mean, I don’t know. I just don’t know. I know this. I haven’t seen much support of Trump from Cory Gardner. And I see him, on the first opportunity he can, pouncing on this President. It — it just leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
And, from the same day on Randall’s show:
CALLER: Hey, Richard! Thanks for taking my call. I know I only have a few seconds. But, when injustice becomes law, rebellion becomes duty. And I’m telling you, they’re taking history away from people, and this is what is causing it. And people like Andrew Cohen or Cory Gardner – first of all, Cory Gardner should be recalled. Anybody that doesn’t, you know, participates in this hatred, I think they should be recalled, investigated, and see if Cory Gardner is getting paid by George Soros.
Randal also shared a text message on-air from another listener:
RANDALL: This comes in by text. It says: “I was a ‘never-Trumper’, but this is ridiculous! Republicans like Gardner will not get another dime (dollar sign) or vote from me! I am changing my affiliation today!
Later that afternoon, on the Chuck & Julie Show (KNUS, 710am in Centennial) there was a similar evaluation of Senator Cory Garnder:
HOST, CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR, AND PUBLISHER OF THE GLENDALE CHERRY CREEK CHRONICLE, CHUCK BONNIWELL: Is Cory Gardner the biggest little snake you’ve ever seen in your life?
CALLER, TOM: Oh, man! I – that guy!
BONNIWELL: He’s revolting.
CALLER: I don’t know how we get rid of that guy. But –.
BONNIWELL: I went through the Internet to find anything Cory Gardner said about the Micah Johnson, who shot and killed five police officers [in Dallas last July]. Not a peep from that little creep. […]Hey, [you’re a] great caller, Tom, and a great American. And you agree with me, so–. Thanks so much for calling!
Then, later in the same show, Mr. Bonniwell interrupted his co-host and wife, journalist Julie Hayden:
BONNIWELL: Before you go into that, I just want to declare my utter disgust [with] –and revulsion to — Cory Gardner.
BONNIWELL: What an awful human being! What a scum ball! I look back – I mean, he’s condemning Trump because he didn’t call a particular person ‘evil’. Really! And I forgot, when Micah Johnson gunned down five police officers in Dallas, I went to the internet. I don’t see one peep of Cory Gardner calling on Obama to reject it. And Obama gave some kind of, “Oh, well, we shouldn’t incite racial hatred” – nothing against Black Lives Matter, nothing! This guy is a total squirrel—
HAYDEN: Pandering, right!
BONNIWELL: –a total amoral squirrel. He’s revolting and I’m ashamed that he is my Senator.
HAYDEN: He should be ashamed of himself.