“RiNO” Cory Gardner Blowtorched For Belatedly Ditching Trump

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

We wrote yesterday about the political peril Sen. Cory Gardner finds himself in following the “resolution” of President Donald Trump’s latest spate of wildly unpopular tariff threats against Mexico. Within the conservative news bubble from which the Republican base obtains most of their information about current events, Trump’s announcement Friday that Mexico had agreed to last-minute demands averting a 5% tariff on goods from Mexico from taking effect today was a triumph for the President. The rest of the country, understanding that this “last minute deal” had been agreed to weeks before by both governments, doesn’t consider any of this a “win” either for Trump or the jittery national economy.

Like most Republican Senators, there was never really a question whether Sen. Gardner could countenance support for punitive tariffs against Mexico. This latest round of unilateral threatmaking from Trump against Mexico saw Republican Senators provoked dissent against the President in the most public fashion since Trump took office–more backlash than equal or even more serious issues like the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi Arabia’s government earned. The controversy over Trump’s threatened tariffs on Mexico raged for days while Gardner kept his head down, and only spoke up last Friday just hours before Trump folded “triumphed.”

At (literally) the end of the day, Gardner waited too long to make a difference in the tariff debate–but speaking up at all nonetheless earned Gardner the renewed wrath of Trump’s loyal Republican base. Gardner is under continuous pressure to please base Republicans without whom he can’t be re-elected, while at the same time remaining viable in a state whose politics are rapidly trending away from both Trump and the Republican brand generally. The inability to satisfy those opposing audiences is why Gardner is the only incumbent Republican Senator with a sub-50% approval rating among fellow Republicans.

In the coming months, Gardner is likely to face more such impossible tests, and it’s likely he will continue to suffer from tepid support among base Republican voters. In the worst case Gardner is wide open to a primary challenge, though we’d have a hard time identifying a viable replacement. At the very least, Gardner is critically weak going into his re-election bid–lacking base Republican support for opposing Trump, however belatedly, and having alienated the middle for backing Trump every time it mattered.

It’s as close to a no-win situation as you’ll find in politics.

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Tancredo Says Republicans in Colorado Support His Border Wall

(Now THAT’S funny – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Former Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo has a track record of stepping back into politics when things aren’t getting done the way he wants. See his run for governor in 2010 and his bid for president.

He’s at it again now, sitting on the advisory committee of “We Build the Wall,” an organization that’s just completed building a half mile of wall along the southern border near El Paso, Texas.

Also on the advisory committee of We Build the Wall is former Trump adviser Stephen Bannon, former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, and other immigration hard liners.

The group used a GoFundMe campaign to raise over $23 million after Trump couldn’t get Congress to pay for the longer wall.

Tancredo told me the response from Colorado Republicans to his wall project has been “terrific,” but he doesn’t know what elected officials like U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner and U.S. Rep. Ken Buck think of it.

He’s seen no opposition in his talks to Republican groups.

“I’m just talking to Republican organizations,” he said. “I don’t get that many offers from liberal groups.”

I told Tancredo my book group might have him, but we’re only about five people.

“When you’ve been out of office as long as I have, you go anywhere,” he said. “You talk to anybody. You don’t care.”

The We Build the Wall GoFundMe page states, “If you are sick and tired of watching politicians in both parties obstructing President Trump’s plan to build a wall on our southern border, then you’ve come to the right place. We The People are coming together to start building segments of Border wall wall on private property and the best part is, we’re going to do it for a fraction of what it costs the government.”

Tancredo told me his segment of wall will funnel immigrants to another area along the border where surveillance is better. It’s also a demonstration project, showing how to overcome technical and political wall obstacles, he said.

His group is not “going to be able to build 1,900 miles of wall,” he said.

Tancredo called construction of the wall a political technological miracle.

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CO Lawmaker Says It’s Hypocritical for Pro-Choice Dems to Worry About Immigrants Who Miscarry in ICE Custody


(Stay classy! – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

State Sen. Owen Hill (R-Colorado Springs)

State Sen. Owen Hill (R-Colorado Springs) criticized presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) on social media last week after she expressed concern for pregnant women who have miscarried while in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), questioning whether she has the “moral authority” to do so given her pro-choice stance.

“Detaining pregnant women is dangerous,” Harris said on Twitter last week. “As many as 28 women have miscarried in ICE custody over the past two years. I’ve called on this Administration to end this practice now.”

Hill took to Facebook with his response, asking, “How can you have any moral authority decrying an accidental miscarriage when you support voluntary miscarriage (aka abortion) up to the point of birth?

He went on to say, “It seems the only logical difference is the desire of the mother. Does this change the moral logic?

It’s worth noting that Hill’s characterization of abortion “up to the point of birth” is misleading, part of a wider effort by conservatives to stoke outrage and spread misinformation about abortions that take place later in pregnancy…

(more…)

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“America Is Full”–Where Have We Heard That Before?


Tom Tancredo.

AP via Time, in case you missed the considerable hubbub this weekend:

Declaring “our country is full,” President Donald Trump on Friday insisted the U.S. immigration system was overburdened and illegal crossings must be stopped as he inspected a refurbished section of fencing at the Mexican border.

Trump, making a renewed push for border security as a central campaign issue for his 2020 re-election, participated in a briefing on immigration and border security in Calexico before viewing a 2-mile (3.2-kilometer) see-through steel-slat barrier that was a long-planned replacement for an older barrier — and not new wall.

“There is indeed an emergency on our southern border,” Trump said at the briefing, adding that there has been a sharp uptick in illegal crossings. “It’s a colossal surge and it’s overwhelming our immigration system, and we can’t let that happen. … We can’t take you anymore. We can’t take you. Our country is full.”

Back in 2015, former Congressman Tom Tancredo was interviewed by the Denver Post for his thoughts about Donald Trump–at a time when Trump was still considered a sideshow instead of a credible campaign for the presidency and his thoughts about the ‘rapists and some good people’ coming into the country were freshly offending the nation’s sensibilities. Tancredo responded that he most certainly supported Trump’s sentiments on immigration, but suggested Trump be “a little more artful” about how he says things:

“He should take lessons from me on how to talk to the press. For a small fee — no, actually for a very large fee — I will help him out. You’ve got to learn how to talk about it, which takes years of practice, which God knows I’ve had,” Tancredo said, cracking himself up.

For most of his long career in politics, Tancredo’s hard line on immigration has been so politically toxic that even most fellow Republicans kept him at arm’s length. During the last Republican administration under George W. Bush, Tancredo’s headline-making invective against immigrants and Muslims, once suggesting the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina be “taken out” and that Miami is a “third world country,” was harshly condemned by fellow conservatives who went to great lengths to marginalize Tancredo within the Republican coalition:

“What a nut,” [Florida Gov. Jeb] Bush told reporters. “I’m just disappointed. He’s from my own my party. He’s a Republican. He doesn’t represent my views.” [Pols emphasis]

Today the Republican President of the United States makes the kind of unhinged rhetoric that Tom Tancredo employed to infamy look tame by comparison on a daily basis. And when Donald Trump declares “our country is full,” he’s elevating the slogan of a man who was too far out on the fringe to be governor of Colorado barely a year ago. Because Tom Tancredo was around long before Trump legitimized Tancredo’s style of bitter anti-immigrant demagoguery, Tancredo serves as an excellent yardstick with which to measure how far the national discourse has fallen under Trump.

The answer: very, very far.

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Wunderkind To Weak Loser: Cory Gardner’s Worst Week


Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

Last week’s vote by the U.S. Senate to terminate President Donald Trump’s border wall national emergency, in which Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado ended weeks of self-generated confusion over his shifting stands on the issue and voted to protect the President, provoked a backlash against Gardner locally that feels much different and more profound than previous such episodes. Kicked off by the Denver Post’s retraction of their controversial 2014 endorsement of Gardner’s election Thursday, Gardner’s last few days of earned media have been easily some of the most brutal of his career.

The Hill:

“Gardner has been too busy walking a political tight rope to be a leader. He has become precisely what we said in our endorsement he would not be: ‘a political time-server interested only in professional security,’” the editorial board wrote. “Trump’s declaration is an abuse of his power, a direct overturning of Congress’ deliberate decision to pass a federal budget without funding for a wall.”

“Put simply this is a constitutional crisis and one of Colorado’s two senators has failed the test,” the paper added. “We no longer know what principles guide the senator and regret giving him our support in a close race against Mark Udall.”

Gardner is one of the Democrats’ top targets heading into the 2020 election cycle, as they hope to capitalize on Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s victory in The Centennial State in 2016. Though the Colorado Republican often touts his bipartisanship, Gardner votes with Trump over 90 percent of the time, according to FiveThirtyEight.

Roll Call’s Emily Kopp:

In its 2014 endorsement, The Denver Post lauded Gardner as an energetic moderate, citing what the paper described as his “restraint” toward military spending. The editorial board cheered the Yuma Republican, saying the Senate “needs fresh leadership, energy and ideas, and Cory Gardner can help provide them in the U.S. Senate.”

The most recent editorial states that optimism is no longer warranted.

Fox News’ Kathleen Joyce:

“This is a bogus emergency that takes executive over-reach to an extreme not seen even under President Barack Obama,” the op-ed stated. “Trump’s declaration is an abuse of his power, a direct overturning of Congress’ deliberate decision to pass a federal budget without funding for a wall.”

The Post said it was “surprised by Gardner’s vote” and called it “inconsistent with every stance he has taken on Trump’s presidency.”

There’s been much debate since 2014 about the role of the Denver Post’s endorsement in Gardner’s narrow victory over incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Udall, by far the most substantial victory Colorado Republicans have enjoyed in well over a decade of mostly consecutive electoral defeats in this state. Udall was well-loved by the Democratic base in Colorado and respected by his Senate colleagues, and his defeat by Gardner was a bitter pill that has left lingering resentment to this day–not least toward the Denver Post for their dismissive endorsement of Gardner.

In particular, as Westword’s Chase Woodruff astutely observed this weekend, was the arrogant manner in which the Post’s editorial board brushed off legitimate concerns about Gardner’s record:

(more…)

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Denver Post Retracts Endorsement of Cory Gardner


Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

In October of 2014, the Denver Post delivered its much-anticipated endorsement in the red-hot U.S. Senate race between incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Udall and his Republican challenger Rep. Cory Gardner. The Post’s endorsement of Gardner in this race was delivered more or less on the assurance that Gardner would not represent a threat to the paper’s generally progressive editorial viewpoint, in particular abortion rights after Gardner had invested enormous time and effort living down his stridently anti-abortion record. After Gardner’s narrow win over Udall by less than two percentage points, many Democrats in Colorado took their frustration out on the Post by cancelling their subscriptions–contributing to the paper’s long and steady decline in circulation.

Today, in the wake of Gardner’s brazen about-face on support for President Donald Trump’s controversial national emergency declaration to obtain funds for a border wall without congressional approval, the Denver Post is taking the highly unusual if not unprecedented step of publicly repudiating their own 2014 endorsement of Gardner’s election. Even if you haven’t visited the Denver Post since October 14, 2014, stop what you’re doing and read this now:

We endorsed Sen. Cory Gardner in 2014 because we believed he’d be a statesman. We knew he’d be a conservative voice in Congress, to be certain, but we thought his voice would bring “fresh leadership, energy and ideas.”

We see now that was a mistake – consider this our resolution of disapproval…

Gardner was a never-Trumper in the primary who in recent months endorsed the president’s re-election campaign even as Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation continues to unveil the worst of this administrations web of lies and deceit. Tuesday’s vote was the last straw.

It’s not a perfect retraction–the Post called Gardner’s innumerable votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act “defensible,” which in the context of Gardner’s years-long caterwauling about Coloradans “losing their coverage” is simply ridiculous. There’s also an attempt to defend the paper’s endorsement last year of Rep. Mike Coffman, which tells us they’re still capable of being fooled in the exact same manner that Gardner fooled them in 2014. In the end the voters of CD-6 saw through Coffman’s deceptions where the Post didn’t.

But where Gardner is concerned, if there was any doubt that the shine has come off Colorado’s most ambitious and highest-ranking remaining Republican elected official, this un-endorsement puts it to rest. Gardner isn’t just vulnerable on paper in a state trending away from Gardner’s party. Gardner’s game is personally up.

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BREAKING: Gardner Backs Trump, Resolution Passes Anyway


UPDATE #3: TPM’s Josh Marshall:

Gardner’s decision illustrates a core principle of Trump Republicanism. Even in cases where a vote is clearly against public opinion at home (state or district) and even in cases where it is clearly politically damaging, they almost always come around to Trump.

Why? Simple. Because even if they’re on the wrong side of a majority of their constituents, Trump will go to war over the disloyalty and kill the member of Congress with Republican partisans. Without Republican partisans no Republican can win anywhere…

It’s a tough position to be in.

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UPDATE #2:

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UPDATE: Gardner votes “NO.”

The final vote tally is 59-41 in support of the resolution.

 

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Will Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) stand behind President Trump today?

As CNN reports, the Trump administration is preparing for an embarrassing vote from the U.S. Senate today on the President’s “emergency declaration” for border wall money:

Three Republican senators made a last-ditch effort Wednesday night to strike a bargain with President Donald Trump and help him avoid an embarrassing defeat in the Senate over his national emergency declaration.

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham phoned Trump while he was in the car on Pennsylvania Avenue to inform him that he, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse were on the way.

Graham said the group “barged” into dinner last night and he made clear that if the President would support a proposal from Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah to limit the length of national emergency declarations, then it would minimize Republican defections “dramatically.”

The trio had made an unsuccessful attempt earlier in the afternoon to sit down with Trump, but White House aides said it was too late and didn’t see the point in bringing them over. Trump had already told staff he was resigned to issuing his first veto after it became clear that enough Republicans will support the measure to overturn the declaration.

According to CNN, the White House expects as many as 14 Republican Senators to support the bill (the House has already approved the measure), which President Trump has promised to veto. Republican Senators Mitt Romney of Utah and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee announced this morning that they would oppose Trump’s fake emergency.

We still don’t know what Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) plans to do today after weeks of cringeworthy waffling on the proposal. It was one month ago to the day that Gardner told Ryan Warner of Colorado Public Radio that he had personally advised Trump against the “emergency declaration”; Trump went ahead and signed the order that same afternoon, and Gardner quickly began backpedaling on his opposition.

Most Americans disagree with Trump’s “emergency,” but Gardner has shown an unusual (for him) level of loyalty to Trump in recent months (see: Wednesday’s weird vote to stand with Trump on American involvement in Yemen’s civil war). Gardner could support the measure to rebuke Trump on his emergency declaration, which would align with the thinking of Colorado voters in general, though that would make weeks of waffling seem especially pointless.

In the end, Gardner may be too terrified of Trump (and his rabid base) to do anything other than line up behind the big orange guy. One way or the other, it’s about time for Gardner to rip off this band-aid.

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Gardner’s National Emergency Waffle Getting Painful To Watch


As the standoff over a pending vote in the U.S. Senate to disapprove of President Donald Trump’s dubious declaration of a national emergency to appropriate by fiat the billions he needs to fund construction of a wall on the southern U.S. border drags on, our friends at WaPo’s The Fix take stock of the seven U.S. Senators still calling themselves “undecided”–and topping the list of the most vulnerable fence-sitters is, no surprise here, Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado:

According to Rand Paul (Ky.) — one of four GOP senators on record supporting the Democrats’ resolution to overturn President Trump’s national emergency declaration — as many as 10 Republicans could buck the White House and vote with Democrats next week.

The president is reportedly upping the pressure on Republicans. On Wednesday afternoon, he tweeted: “Senate Republicans are not voting on constitutionality or precedent, they are voting on desperately needed Border Security & the Wall. Our Country is being invaded with Drugs, Human Traffickers, & Criminals of all shapes and sizes. That’s what this vote is all about. STAY UNITED!”

…Of all the possible Republican defectors, Gardner has the most to lose. [Pols emphasis] He is up for reelection in 2020 in a purple state that Hillary Clinton won in 2016 by 5 points. Taking the president’s side on this could jeopardize his already tenuous reelection prospects, but voting against the president will invite the wrath of Trump’s core supporters who make up a large share of the loyal GOP voting constituencies.

As we’ve analyzed in this space in detail, this political quandary helps explain why Gardner waffled on his prior seemingly clear opposition to Trump declaring a national emergency for the border wall as soon as Trump went through with the order. We’re not sure whether Gardner simply thought Trump wouldn’t pull the proverbial trigger, or was prepared to move himself into the “unsure” camp as the lesser of two political evils once Trump did despite his prior statements. Since Trump’s declaration, Gardner has stalled for time while waiting for other Senators to make his position a moot point.

But it’s not working out that way. Instead, Gardner’s indecision is standing out more by the day–and the fact that Gardner has already waffled, which The Fix missed but local journalists have been diligently reporting, only makes it worse.

We’ve said it before: Cory Gardner isn’t as politically skilled as his carefully-crafted reputation suggests. Sometimes, more often than gets reported in fact, he’s really as weak and disorganized as he looks–and this is one of those times.

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Cory Gardner, Meet Irony


Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) was a featured speaker recently at the 2019 BBYO International Convention in Denver, where he delivered a brief welcome speech that featured an oddly-timed choice of words.

Gardner’s generally milquetoast remarks to the convention of Jewish teenagers wouldn’t be worth a mention if not for the dunderheaded clichés he decided to employ. We couldn’t possibly make this up:

“There are no walls that are too high for you to overcome. [Pols emphasis] There are no doors that you cannot break through. There are no barriers that are in your way. Your opportunity is to knock them all down to charge forward to succeed, to believe, to make sure that those who follow in your footsteps have that clear path for opportunity ahead.”

This is, of course, the same Cory Gardner who can’t seem to make up his mind about whether or not he supports President Trump’s great big border wall project. It’s safe to say that this is not really a good time for a Republican to be using the old “tearing down walls” routine; it’s a bit off-brand for the GOP at the moment.

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Rand Paul Does What Cory Gardner SHOULD Have Done


Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) declared over the weekend that he will vote in favor of a resolution opposing President Trump’semergency declaration” for border wall funding. As Paul said during a speech in Kentucky, “I can’t vote to give the president the power to spend money that hasn’t been appropriated by Congress.”

Paul’s pledge means that there are now enough votes in the Senate to pass a resolution that has already been approved by the House of Representatives. As Aaron Blake writes for the Washington Post, this resolution isn’t just a symbolic rebuke of Trump — it might well provide support for a successful legal challenge:

…it’s worth taking stock of how significant this moment is — and how it could potentially impact the battle that actually will decide the fate of the national emergency declaration: the legal case.

We have seen over and over again how a closely divided GOP-controlled Senate has come close to rebuking the president. Almost always, holdouts like Paul, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and then-Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) were prevailed upon to toe the line in the end. When enough Republicans have crossed over to rebuke Trump, it has almost always been in symbolic ways: Jamal Khashoggi, Trump’s trade wars, the media not being “the enemy of the people,” and the withdrawals from Syria and Afghanistan.

This time, there’s meat on the bone. The GOP-controlled Senate would actually be taking concrete action to stop Trump, thereby forcing Trump to veto something. It would be his first veto, in fact. This registers that he is acting in clear opposition to — and overturning — the will of Congress.

Paul’s pledge to support the resolution doesn’t remove the pressure for Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (Gardner spent his weekend dodging questions about whether or not he supports Trump’s pretend emergency). In fact, Paul’s clear position on the subject actually makes Gardner’s incessant waffling look even worse.

“Without question, the president’s order for more wall money contradicts the will of Congress and will, in all likelihood, be struck down by the Supreme Court.”

— Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky)

The problem for Gardner isn’t just that he was very much opposed to this sort of executive action when Barack Obama was President; Gardner was very much opposed to this sort of executive action as recently as last month. Literally hours before Trump announced his plan to maneuver around Congress, Gardner told Ryan Warner of Colorado Public Radio that he had told Trump directly that he should not declare an “emergency” in order to build his big wall. Gardner has since backed away from that stance, but Colorado journalists have rightly continued to prod him for answers.

Gardner could have stuck to his talking points about the dangers of unchecked executive actions and avoided these persistent media questions. Gardner could then have cast a clean vote when the measure receives a Senate vote later this month.

Instead, Gardner is now stuck in a political corner of his own making. If he votes “YES” on the disapproval measure, then he will have spent weeks putting himself through the political ringer for no benefit. Of course, he can still vote “NO”, but if there are already enough votes in support, then what’s the point of that? If Gardner votes “NO” and Trump’s executive order gets overturned by the courts, he’ll be answering questions about his decision for years to come.

More often than not, sitting on the fence in politics just gets you a butt full of splinters.

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ALMOST LIVE: Watch Cory Gardner Get Pwned in Boulder


MONDAY UPDATE: The Boulder Daily Camera reports:

According to the College Republicans at CU Boulder Facebook page, the club cancelled its usual Thursday night meeting to host an unnamed “special guest speaker” on Friday…

A club member who asked not to be identified, said Gardner’s identity was withheld to keep the event from becoming a media circus or a spectacle for activists. Events featuring conservative speakers at CU have often resulted in large-scale protests, and the club was looking to foster as calm, respectful and non-contentious an environment as it could, the member said.

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UPDATE: More footage from inside the event:

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Stop whatever you’re doing this snowy weekend and watch this remarkable clip of video forwarded to us by the good folks at Indivisible Front Range Resistance from an unannounced appearance yesterday evening by Sen. Cory Gardner to speak to University of Colorado College Republicans in Boulder. Though reportedly only listed as an anonymous “guest speaker” on the event schedule, word got out in time for one of Gardner’s least favorite things to arrive on scene: a constituent with a smartphone.

We don’t want to take away from the atmospherics of the questioning and especially the by-now trademark “Cory Shuffle” hall chase, so watch the whole video in which Gardner stoically evades questions about President Donald Trump’s controversial immigration policy advisor Stephen Miller, says again that he hasn’t decided whether Trump’s national emergency declaration (and gets walloped for it), then starts to offer some kind of defense of Trump politically after it’s suggested that Colorado has “roundly rejected” the President (and gets walloped for that).

Unfortunately that last exchange doesn’t have a satisfying end as Gardner escapes out the door–but here’s a minute and a half of exactly the Cory Gardner that Democrats love to hate. And for America’s most vulnerable 2020 Senator, it’s not a good look.

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All Eyes on Senate as House Votes on Trump “Emergency”


UPDATE: The House votes, as expected, to oppose Trump’s emergency declaration. From the Washington Post:

The House on Tuesday passed a resolution to overturn President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency on the southern border, as majority Democrats painted an apocalyptic portrait of a lawless chief executive out to gut the Constitution.

The 245-182 tally was mostly along party lines, with 13 Republicans defecting to side with Democrats on a vote that effectively became a test of GOP loyalty to Trump. Despite their frequent complaints of executive overreach during the Obama administration, most Republicans fell in line with Trump’s decision to try to circumvent Congress to get billions of dollars for his border wall. As a result the vote fell well short of the two-thirds majority that would be required to overcome Trump’s threatened veto.

Democrats argued that Trump’s claim of a crisis at the border was baseless, and that he was embarking on the road to dictatorship by unilaterally declaring an emergency to try to get money from U.S. taxpayers to fulfill an unpopular campaign promise.

—–

President Trump and Sen. Cory Gardner apparently speak regularly by telephone.

The U.S. House of Representatives will vote today on a measure opposing President Trump’s “emergency declaration” so that he can build himself a big ‘ol wall at the Mexico border. The measure is widely expected to be approved by the House (approval means rejecting Trump’s emergency declaration), which means that the real drama will take place in the Senate.

As the Washington Post reports:

Partisans on both sides unleashed sharp new rhetoric ahead of Tuesday’s vote on a Democratic-authored resolution that would nullify President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border. Congress has never before sought to cancel a national emergency declared by the president since passage of the National Emergencies Act in 1976. [Pols emphasis]…

…While Democrats tried to focus on the constitutional issues at stake in Trump using an emergency declaration to get border-wall money denied by Congress, Republicans trained their arguments on what they called dire conditions along the border that necessitated Trump’s move.

As the Post story notes, the Democratic-led House should have little trouble passing the resolution; under the National Emergencies Act, the Senate is then required to hold a vote on the measure within the next two weeks. Assuming that all Senate Democrats vote in favor of the proposal, it would only take four Republican votes to advance the measure to the President’s desk. Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) have signaled that they will vote YES, and so will Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina. If you’re doing the math at home, one more Republican vote will move the measure forward.

Tillis laid out his argument in an Op-Ed for the Washington Post in which he brings up his opposition to President Obama’s use of emergency declarations:

It is my responsibility to be a steward of the Article I branch, to preserve the separation of powers and to curb the kind of executive overreach that Congress has allowed to fester for the better part of the past century. I stood by that principle during the Obama administration, and I stand by it now.

Conservatives rightfully cried foul when President Barack Obama used executive action to completely bypass Congress and unilaterally provide deferred action to undocumented adults who had knowingly violated the nation’s immigration laws. Some prominent Republicans went so far as to proclaim that Obama was acting more like an “emperor” or “king” than a president.

There is no intellectual honesty in now turning around and arguing that there’s an imaginary asterisk attached to executive overreach — that it’s acceptable for my party but not thy party. [Pols emphasis] 

Ouch. That last line is particularly relevant for Coloradans, because Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) has backed himself into the same corner. Take a look at what Gardner said in December 2014 in response to Obama’s executive order on DACA. From Fox 31 News:

Gardner, who defeated Democratic Sen. Mark Udall and is positioning himself as a moderate within the GOP Senate caucus, voted with a majority of House Republicans in support of Rep. Ted Yoho’s bill that seeks to bar the executive branch from delaying deportations…

…Gardner immediately released a statement following the vote, explaining that he opposes the president’s unilateral action but not comprehensive immigration reform overall.

“Recently, the President issued an executive order that circumvented Congress and asserted power he previously said he doesn’t have,” Gardner said in the statement. “Today the House voted on a bill to condemn the President’s circumvention of Congress.

If we go by Sen. Tillis’ definition of “intellectual dishonesty,” then Sen. Gardner cannot possibly vote against this measure. Yet…he might.

As we’ve noted before in this space, Gardner voiced his opposition to an “emergency declaration” on the very same day that Trump issued the order; Gardner told Ryan Warner of Colorado Public Radio that he had spoken to Trump directly and urged him NOT to issue an emergency declaration. After Trump went ahead and issued the order anyway, Gardner started backpedaling, stating that he needed time to “study” the President’s decision.

Colorado political reporters have since been working hard to get some sort of clarification from Gardner on where he stands, but Gardner isn’t returning phone calls. Will Gardner stick with his original stance against Trump’s “emergency declaration,” or will he once again wilt in the face of pressure from the President?

President Trump has promised to veto the measure if it makes it to his desk. Congress probably doesn’t have enough votes to override a Presidential veto, but Gardner may well be the deciding vote on whether or not we even have that discussion. He can’t waffle his way out of this one.

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Where Does Gardner Actually Stand on Trump’s “Emergency”?


So far, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) has had President Trump’s back at every turn.

We’ve been keeping track in this space of Sen. Cory Gardner’s (R-Yuma) slow waffle on supporting President Trump’s “emergency declaration” so that he can hijack other funds to build his great big wall. Last week, literally hours before Trump declared his great big emergency, Gardner told Colorado Public Radio’s Ryan Warner that he opposed the idea of an emergency declaration:

GARDNER: …I don’t think he should do anything without Congress’ approval. It’s important for Congress to have the appropriate oversight…

WARNER: So how do you get the message to [President Trump] perhaps that you don’t want him to declare a national emergency, as has been hinted, or raid other funds for this?

GARDNER: Well, it’s pretty simple. I can tell him that in person, that I think Congress needs to do its job.

WARNER: Have you done that?

GARDNER: I have.

WARNER: Alright.

We have since learned that Gardner is among a handful of Republican leaders who speak regularly with Trump on the phone, which makes Gardner’s claim that he told Trump not to go the “emergency declaration” route all the more plausible.

Anyhoo, Gardner started backpedaling on his opposition to Trump’s plan the very next day, telling Anna Staver of the Denver Post that he was “reviewing” the President’s emergency declaration.

This brings us full circle back to Warner, who is doggedly trying to figure out WTF Gardner is doing here:

Yeah, not a good look at all.

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Americans Don’t Approve of Trump “Emergency”


New polling data shows that Americans are not buying what President Trump is selling when it comes to his emergency declaration for funding a big ‘ol wall at the U.S.-Mexico border:

More than 6-in-10 Americans disapprove of President Trump’s decision to declare a national emergency so he can build barriers along the U.S border with Mexico, a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll finds.

Nearly 6-in-10 also don’t believe there is an emergency at the southern border and that the president is misusing his presidential authority. They also believe that his decision should be challenged in court.

“All things related to the declaring of a national emergency, the president is striking out in the court of public opinion,” said Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion, which conducted the survey. “He’s maintaining his base and little else.”

Of course, “maintaining his base” might just be all that President Trump really cares about when it comes to the giant wall debate. But for the rest of the GOP, including Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma), this is just another heaping helping of bad news.

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Gardner’s Totally Predictable Wall Waffle Underway


SATURDAY UPDATE: Mid-waffle update–KRDO 13 reports:

“I think the President is right to pursue additional border security dollars,” Gardner says, [Pols emphasis] “I think Congress ought to do their job and make this border security a reality.”

The declaration receiving a lot of criticism from Democrats and Republicans, including questions about its legality. The Republican Senator saying that before things move forward on the proposed wall, he wants to find out himself.”That’s what i’m looking at before anything further is just understanding the law, understanding the legal ramifications.”

He’ll be home in time for supper, folks.

—–

Donald Trump, Cory Gardner.

In an interview yesterday with Colorado Public Radio, Sen. Cory Gardner sure sounded like he was certain about his opinion of President Donald Trump’s plan to declare a national emergency in order to build his wall fence barrier whatever you want to call it:

When asked whether Trump should declare an emergency or use other federal funds to pay for the wall, Gardner said he had personally told Trump he opposed both steps. [Pols emphasis]

“I think Congress needs to do its job,” Gardner said.

Was anything lost in translation from the live interview to the news story, you might reasonably ask?

Ryan Warner: How do you get the message to him that you don’t want him to perhaps declare a national emergency, as has been hinted? Or, raid other funds for this. How does —

Cory Gardner: Well, it’s pretty simple. I’d tell him that in person, that I think Congress needs to do its job.

Ryan Warner: Have you done, that? And do you —

Cory Gardner: I have.

Got that? Cory Gardner–not on board with the national emergency. As we pointed out. Yesterday.

Oh wait, you thought Sen. Gardner meant all that stuff, didn’t you? Sorry to disappoint you, but this is the same Cory Gardner less than 24 hours later! The only thing that’s changed is Trump has declared his emergency, and Gardner isn’t sitting next to Sen. Michael Bennet on Colorado Public Radio.

If you’ve ever found yourself frustrated at how Cory Gardner shamelessly utilizes Bennet as a human shield, particularly in situations where the Republican position is going to look unsalvageably bad–a frequent profanity-laden topic among Democratic operatives–this could be the most maddening occurrence yet. Gardner is caught midway through a fully predictable 180-degree pivot back to supporting Trump, and he simply lied his way through what could have been a telling confrontation over the issue yesterday with his Democratic counterpart.

If you didn’t already know to never take anything Gardner says at face value, here is the lesson writ large.

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Trump to Declare Wall Emergency; Gardner Looks Silly (Again)


“Wall, wall, wall. Wall.”

As the Washington Post reports, President Trump is expected to sign compromise legislation preventing another government shutdown…but he’s also going to declare a “national emergency” so that he can siphon off more money for his big ol’ border wall:

President Trump is prepared to sign a massive spending and border security deal, while at the same time declaring a national emergency to get more money to build his border wall, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Thursday.

McConnell made the announcement on the Senate floor, and told senators to prepare to vote shortly on the legislation that would stave off a government shutdown Friday at midnight.

“The president will sign the bill. We’ll be voting on it shortly,” McConnell said.

McConnell also said he’d told the president he would support the emergency declaration, which would allow the president to circumvent Congress and use the military to build his wall. McConnell has voiced opposition for weeks to the idea of Trump declaring a national emergency. [Pols emphasis]

This is a pretty abrupt change from McConnell, and as you’ll see in a moment, it appears to be a surprise to other Republicans like Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma).  Earlier today, Gardner appeared with Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Denver) for an interview with Ryan Warner of Colorado Public Radio. This exact topic was the first item of discussion:

WARNER: Senator Gardner, let’s do a reality check here. Congress controls the purse strings for the most part. Is it realistic for the President to get the wall built without Congress?

GARDNER: Well, again, you’d have to check the legal authorities that might be there, but I don’t think he should do anything without Congress’ approval. It’s important for Congress to have the appropriate oversight. That’s why this deal is, I think, a compromise that he will sign. I believe he will. Nancy Pelosi said she would not allow one dollar to go to the barrier, barriers on the border. President Trump said he wanted $5.7 billion, and this is a reasonable path forward allowing the government to maintain itself in operation while also providing border security.

WARNER: So how do you get the message to him perhaps that you don’t want him to declare a national emergency, as has been hinted, or raid other funds for this?

GARDNER: Well, it’s pretty simple. I can tell him that in person, that I think Congress needs to do its job.

WARNER: Have you done that?

GARDNER: I have.

WARNER: Alright.

Look who got stuck holding the bag.

D’oh!

Gardner hasn’t missed many opportunities to lavish praise on President Trump lately, perhaps in part because Colorado Republicans remain oddly enamored with the big orange guy (unfortunately for Gardner, the rest of Colorado disagrees with both Trump and his wall).

Just last month, Gardner became one of the first high-profile Republicans to officially endorse Trump’s re-election campaign, which earned him a Presidential Tweet. But when it comes down to policy issues, for everything from a border wall to North Korea, Trump has no problem stepping over Gardner.

Politically-speaking, this could soon get much worse for Gardner and friends. As CNN noted earlier this week, the “national emergency” approach has long terrified Congressional Republicans:

That’s because doing so could set off a chain of events on Capitol Hill that risks splitting the Republican conference, undercutting other parts of Trump’s agenda and likely opening the administration’s actions to legal challenges. It would also provide a clarifying moment that Republicans on the Hill have managed to avoid since Trump took office — casting an up or down vote on whether to build the full-scale wall Trump desires.

According to federal law, Congress can rescind a presidential emergency declaration by passing a joint resolution. In the likely event that such a bill would be vetoed by the President, Congress could then override it with a two-thirds majority in the Senate and the House.

The danger to congressional Republicans isn’t having to overcome a presidential veto, but in having to vote on the resolution itself. Any such measure would be considered privileged — if, for example, the House passed it then the Senate would be required by law to vote on the measure within 18 days. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would be powerless to stop a floor vote.

Gardner says that he has told Trump directly that he disagrees with a “national emergency” declaration — which didn’t seem to make any difference to Trump. Gardner might soon have to cast a vote on this very issue, which will most certainly make a difference with Colorado voters in 2020.

Loyalty has its price. When it comes to Gardner and Trump, only one person appears to be making any payments.

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The Gardner Shuffle


UPDATE: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocks a move by Senate Democrats to hold a vote on reopening the federal government.

—–

Come on everybody, gather ’round! Grab your partner and head on over to the dance floor for “The Gardner Shuffle.”

Just follow these simple instructions…

STEP 1:

Make national headlines by saying that you want to end the government shutdown to show the rubes that you are a bipartisan moderate superhero:

As The Hill reported on January 3, 2019:

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), who faces a potentially tough re-election in 2020, says Congress should re-open the federal government, even without a deal on funding President Trump’s border wall.

Gardner is the first Senate Republican to call for ending the partial shutdown even without a deal on President Trump’s demand for $5 billion to fund a border wall.

“I think we should pass a continuing resolution to get the government back open. The Senate has done it last Congress, we should do it again today,” he said…

 

STEP 2:

Minimize the daylight between you and President Trump when your right-wing base gets angry that you suggested ending the shutdown without resolution on a border wall.

From the Colorado Springs Gazette (January 5, 2019):

Despite the firestorm that erupted when he became the first Republican senator to call for reopening the federal government, Colorado’s Cory Gardner said Friday that he hasn’t changed his position on shutdowns…

…“This is the same position I have had,” Gardner said. “I don’t think shutdowns are the right way to govern.”

Gardner said he supports Trump’s demand for $5.6 billion to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. [Pols emphasis] But, he said, the GOP should reopen the government, then resume the fight over border security, putting Democrats on the defensive.

NOTE: You may need to pretend that you didn’t hear the question when you get asked about previous statements in opposition to building a border wall

 

STEP 3:

Tell conservative audiences that President Trump has your full support and blame the government shutdown on Democrats (nevermind that Trump has repeatedly taken ownership of the shutdown).

Here’s Gardner on the “Steffan Tubbs Show” on KNUS on Wednesday (January 9, 2019):

“The President is right to be fighting for more border security dollars. I don’t understand the opposition today, other than it’s just opposition to the President…

…I made a comment several weeks ago where I said that it seems like what we’re seeing out of the House of Representatives is a ‘revenge majority,’ A majority that is simply going to oppose everything because it comes from President Trump.”

STEP 4:

Do-si-do, or whatever.

 

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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (January 8)


The 2020 election is 665 days away. In the meantime, let’s “Get More Smarter.” If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Democrat Jared Polis will officially take over as Colorado’s Governor today. Polis’ 2018 opponent, Republican Walker Stapleton, will be reporting for jury duty. Denver7 has more on today’s inauguration festivities.

 

► President Trump will deliver a prime time address tonight about his fictional border crisis; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer will follow with a Democratic rebuttal. As James Hohmann writes for the Washington Post, Trump’s rhetoric on immigration is not at all related to facts on the ground:

Leaks from inside the government continue to undercut the administration’s misleading spin on crime and terrorism vis-à-vis immigration:

“U.S. Customs and Border Protection encountered only six immigrants at ports of entry on the U.S-Mexico border in the first half of fiscal year 2018 whose names were on a federal government list of known or suspected terrorists, according to CBP data provided to Congress in May 2018,” NBC News’s Julia Ainsley reports.

Six people. Six. That’s quite a bit fewer than the 4,000 that White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders insisted were stopped at the border in 2018. And then there’s this:

“Despite their portrayal of Mexico as a teeming portal for terrorists,” the AP’s Calvin Woodward reports this morning, “the State Department issued a report in September finding ‘no credible evidence indicating that international terrorist groups have established bases in Mexico, worked with Mexican drug cartels or sent operatives via Mexico into the United States.’” (Read the State Department report for yourself.)

Here in Colorado, we’ll be anxiously waiting to see how Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) responds to Trump’s speech tonight. Gardner’s recent shutdown waffling has angered his Republican base (or what’s left of it) and prompted new talk about a “circular firing squad.”

 

► The New York Times examines the toll of the government shutdown on day 17:

The impact of a partial government shutdown began to ripple across the economy as it stretched into Day 17, with mortgage applications delayed, public companies unable to get approval to raise capital and thousands of Secret Service agents expected to show up for work without pay.

President Trump and congressional Democrats have made little progress in negotiations to end a shutdown that has affected about 800,000 federal workers, many of whom will miss their first paycheck this week, and who owe a combined $249 million in monthly mortgage payments, according to the online real estate firm Zillow…

…The standoff is beginning to inflict pain on Americans, whose lives are affected, in one way or another, by the federal government. It is already the second-longest shutdown in history, behind the one that started in December 1995 and lasted 21 days.

More than 600 federal employees in Colorado have now filed for unemployment benefits, as 9News reports.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

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Bunny Boilers and Primary Challengers: Gardner’s Shutdown Statement Angers GOP Base


(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Colorado’s conservative activists are furious at U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner’s call to end the government shutdown without funding for President Trump’s wall. County GOP officials and Tea Party leaders are talking openly about the need for a primary challenger in 2020.

One official went so far as to joke about boiling a bunny on Sen. Gardner’s stove.

Jefferson County Republican Vice Chair Steve Dorman vehemently disagreed with a post written by a member of the Arapahoe Tea Party group that stated. “Sorry, we need to accept Cory Gardner.”

Dorman replied “this betrayal is too huge. I don’t care about 99.9% of the time. And yes….the wall and border security are very important.”

In another comment, the JeffCo GOP Vice Chair added “I don’t want him to come home and find a rabbit’s head boiling on his stove….but…….”
The author of the original post replied, “That’s a good idea.”JeffCo GOP Vice Chair wants to boil Sen. Gardner's bunny

Though presumably tongue-in-cheek, this quip is particularly dubious in light of a threatening video of a beheading Gardner’s wife received via text message back in October.

Pueblo County Republican Party Treasurer George Mayfield posted his call for a primary on the group’s Facebook page,

Our RINO U.S. Senator Cory Gardner just announced that he would vote to re-open the complete federal government, with no money for a wall. I think it’s time that he gets ready for a primary in 2020. He won’t win in blue Colorado by trolling for Democrat votes.

Pueblo GOP Treasurer: Primary Gardner in 2020

On Friday, Anil Mathai, chair of the Adams County Republicans, agreed with radio host Peter BoyleS that Sen. Gardner is a “useful idiot,” or easily manipulated pawn, presumably of establishment conservatives.

(more…)

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Friendless: GOP Base Turns On Cory Gardner


Following the announcement yesterday by Colorado’s imperiled junior GOP U.S. Senator Cory Gardner that he would now support legislation to reopen parts of the federal government without funding for President Donald Trump’s border wall, in effect caving to Democrats on the same day they took control of the U.S. House for the first time since 2011, prominent members of Gardner’s own party still loyal to President Trump reacted–and it wasn’t kind:

President Trump (left) and Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma).

Ouch! It’s a safe bet that Laura Ingraham’s 2.4 million followers were not impressed, and the replies to her Tweet certainly indicate as much. The real test, of course, will be whether President Trump himself chooses to personally weigh in on Gardner’s new groove. Trump has given Gardner several warm mentions in the past few months both in person and via the Twitters, not least a glowing send-up at a campaign rally in West Virginia after Gardner accompanied Trump to the event on Air Force One (photo right).

Strategically, this move has been broadly recognized as a first step in what pundits agree will be a wholesale political transformation for Sen. Gardner if he has any realistic hope of staying in office after 2020. Much like when Gardner launched his 2014 Senate campaign by audaciously declaring he no longer supported the “Personhood” abortion ban initiatives, Gardner is making a highly public splash of dissent in hopes of disrupting the “Trump toady” image he currently is saddled with.

The problem, as you can see in Ingraham’s response, is that Gardner is alienating base Republicans that he needs every bit as much as swing voters by caving on Trump’s signature priority. Because Gardner is running in a state whose politics have moved steadily away from Republicans, it makes sense that he is trying to put distance between himself and the Republican brand–but whatever Gardner nets in terms of swing support, which won’t be much, comes at the expense of base Republican votes.

Is there a good move for Gardner at this point? Maybe not, but the people who rightly consider themselves Gardner’s closest allies say this is not it.

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Of Course Coffman’s Gonna Help Build The Wall


Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

With the impasse over President Donald Trump’s demand for $5 billion in funding for a wall along the southern U.S. border having resulted in a partial shutdown of the federal government over the Christmas holiday and potentially beyond, let’s take a few minutes to discuss the vote of lame-duck GOP Rep. Mike Coffman to give Trump his wall funding–in particular what it says about Coffman’s career in the U.S. House and his defeat this November.

Mike Coffman was originally elected to succeed retiring Rep. Tom Tancredo in Colorado’s CD-6. At this time, CD-6 was an extremely safe Republican seat representing the southern Denver suburbs and conservative Douglas County, a district not just untroubled but supportive of the anti-immigrant hard line politics that remain Tancredo’s calling card. Tancredo may have been persona non grata in the Bush White House, but he developed a base of support that he leveraged into a vanity campaign for President that further raised Tancredo’s name ID.

Succeeding Tancredo, Coffman originally strained to present as fierce an anti-immigrant image as his predecessor, telling immigrant voters to “pull out a dictionary” and claiming “the DREAM Act will be a nightmare for the American people.” Coffman had fought a nasty primary to win his seat, and in this district had an obligation to show the flag with vigor to stave off another in 2010.

All of this changed in 2011, when the redistricting process transformed CD-6 from Tom Tancredo’s stronghold into a district comprised of almost 20% Latino voters. CD-6 never again voted for a Republican candidate in presidential races, and was in fact carried in 2016 by Hillary Clinton by a substantial margin. In 2012, Coffman barely survived re-election against an underfunded Democratic challenger, a lucky break given him by Democrats who were slow to capitalize on the opportunity.

After 2012, Coffman set to work remaking his image on immigration. He did this primarily through paying lip service to accommodating the children of immigrants who arrived here with no agency in the decision to migrate, the same DREAMers he had previously maligned. With Republicans in control under a Democratic President, gridlock on immigration along with basically everything else ensued, and when Coffman thumbed his nose at the Senate’s 2013 attempt at immigration reform it somehow didn’t undermine his new credentials with the local media as a “moderate on immigration.”

Because for all the credit Coffman received for not being part of the problem on immigration, his actual policy proposals never matched up. Coffman’s centerpiece legislation to give undocumented immigrants who serve in the military legal status was a niche bill that wouldn’t solve most of the problem, and Coffman’s support for a “clean” DREAM Act, after opposing President Obama’s DACA program for years, came far too late to make a difference. Beyond that, Coffman simply hid behind the gridlock caused by Republican leadership he voted for.

This year, Coffman’s unlikely run of victories in a district that elected Democrats above and below him on the ballot came to an end. Donald Trump’s presidency exposed Coffman’s triangulation strategy as fraudulent, when Coffman was forced to toe the pro-Trump line to appease his own base while simultaneously trying to maintain a facade of “moderation” for the swing voters he needed to overcome the district’s natural propensity to elect Democrats. It’s didn’t work, and Coffman lost by the margin he arguably could have lost by in 2012, 2014, or 2016.

And so this week, when defeated Rep. Coffman voted to build Trump’s wall, all he did was dispense with a pretense that had outlived its usefulness. To the reporters he tricked into validating credentials on immigration Coffman did not deserve, and the pro-immigrant activists and Democratic lawmakers who he likewise used for undeserved cover, it’s a final round of insulting confirmation of the long con game Coffman played to their and the voting public’s detriment.

But there is one consolation. It’s just about over.

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Cory Gardner Contradicts Cory Gardner on The Big Wall


Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) on “Fox and Friends” (12/14/18)

Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) yukked it up on national television on Friday as a guest on “Wake Up, Mr. President” “Fox & Friends,” the morning news/talk show that is basically President Trump’s personal “Sesame Street” (Jason Salzman has more on Gardner’s “revenge majority” phrase) The topic of discussion was the looming government shutdown over funding for Trump’s big wall along the Mexican border…or as the clip is labeled, “Colorado Republican Senator Cory Gardner says the Democrats are taking revenge out on the president after winning back the majority in the House by not voting for border wall funding.”

Gardner had the bullshit meter turned up all the way to 100 for his sit-down interview, which we transcribed for your reading, uh, pleasure below. Gardner spends most of the interview bashing Democrats for not supporting billions of dollars in funding for Trump’s big wall — though Gardner himself is on the record opposing funding for a border wall. It wasn’t even all that long ago, either. Let’s take a step back in time to March 9, 2017, via Politico:

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, stated his opposition to a physical wall in fairly explicit terms during a telephone town hall Wednesday night…

…”As far as the wall goes, I believe we have to have border security, but I do think billions of dollars on a wall is not the right way to proceed,” Gardner told a constituent, according to audio obtained by POLITICO. [Pols emphasis] “I don’t support a tariff to pay for any kind of wall.”

If constructed, Trump’s wall along the U.S.-Mexico border is expected, by some estimates, to cost $14 billion, if not much more.

Gardner told reporters last month that he didn’t think the wall was “the best idea,” but he was more emphatic in his comments Wednesday night.

“We do need security on the border,” Gardner said. “That may mean personnel. It may mean a fence. That may mean an electronic fence,” the first-term lawmaker said. “But we shouldn’t just build a wall and add billions of dollars because that’s what somebody said should be done.” [Pols emphasis]

Same wall. Same guy.

Hmmm…that’s odd. Here’s Gardner’s interview with “Fox & Friends” muppets Steve Doocy and Ainsley Earhardt from Friday:

EARHARDT: Are there 10 Senators who are Democrats who would consider voting for this wall?

GARDNER: Well, I certainly hope so. This is about border security, which is something that both sides have said they supported. I hope there are more than 10 Senators on the Democrat side of the aisle that believe border security is important.

EARHARDT: I’m thinking about Senators from border states…

GARDNER: Right. You’ve got some border state [Senators]. You have others in the Senate who have been voting with us…

EARHARDT:…Like Joe Manchin…

GARDNER: Like Joe Manchin, on common sense border reforms, and others in the Senate. So I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that just a few months ago you agreed to $25 billion in border security. Why are they trying to cut border security funding now? And I hope they will agree that, yes, let’s get this done.

DOOCY: And that bill you were actually part of – the $25 billion that so many Democrats were like, ‘Yeah, we’ll sign onto that.’ But what has happened? The dynamic has changed because it seems as though the Democrats have dug in. They simply don’t want to give him [Trump?] a nickel for him to build a wall.

GARDNER: This is what I don’t understand. At all. It makes no sense. They have no border security plan. Months ago they supported $25 billion dollars in border security funding. Now, they support less than a fifth of that. This is a massive cut in border security funding that the Democrats are now proposing.

DOOCY: But it’s politics…

GARDNER: It’s politics, but it’s based on a revenge majority that they just elected to the House. This is nothing more than a revenge majority. They want to fight against a President that they believe should never have been elected in the first place. So, the policies that they are pursuing are all going to be based on revenge: Investigations, cutting border security, doing everything they can to provide that revenge.

EARHARDT: Senator, it doesn’t look like the President is going to get the $5 trillion…

GARDNER: Billion…

EARHARDT: $5 billion.

GARDNER: [laughing] $5 trillion would do it.

EARHARDT: I keep saying ‘trillion.’ It’s ‘billion.’ It doesn’t look like he’s going to get that, so is there a compromise? If he gets the 1.3 or 1.6 right now, is there a chance to get another 1.3 or 1.6 in a few months?

GARDNER: You know, there certainly is. You can keep going at it and getting more, bit by bit by bit. But we know the numbers. We know that border security is better when you have something like this in place. We know from the leaders of our border security agencies – by the way, which the revenge majority wants to destroy now. We know that the leaders of these agencies have said, ‘We can do a better job if we have these border security measures in place.’  So, yes, you can do it bit by bit, and ultimately I think we will see that happen over the next week. Let’s get this done.

DOOCY: Okay, first time we’ve heard the word ‘revenge majority.’ I’ve got a feeling we’re going to hear that more. Thank you, Senator.

It’s important to note that the $25 billion “border security” bill Gardner references also included a 12-year pathway to citizenship for so-called “DREAMers” — children of immigrants who are in the United States through no fault of their own — that President Trump rejected outright. The $25 billion “WALL Act” that Senate Republicans are now pushing is no shape or form similar to any of the immigration reform bills that Gardner is referencing when he says that Democrats are now trying to “cut border security funding.” This isn’t an “apples to oranges” comparison; it’s more like “apples to spaceships.”

Congressional Democrats largely do not support Trump’s obsession with building a giant wall but have consistently supported proposals to strengthen border security through the use of sensors, drones, and other non-wall means.

As for the duplicitous Gardner, it’s really not a mystery as to why his approval ratings are in the toilet — even among Republicans. Gardner is a man of his words…whichever words he thinks serve him best at any given moment.

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Colorado Republicans Invite Hate Leader To Speak At Post-Election Retreat


(Just wow – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

anti-Muslim extremist David HorowitzLooking to re-energize their caucus following sweeping losses at the ballot box last month, Colorado Republicans held a retreat in Sedalia immediately after the election. The event featured controversial writer and pundit David Horowitz as a keynote speaker.

The Southern Poverty Law Center describes Horowitz as an “Anti-Muslim fanatic” and lists David Horowitz as an anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim extremist. It describes his David Horowitz Freedom Center as “a platform to project hate and misinformation.” 

Horowitz published the text of his speech on his website. It’s clear from his first sentence that he wasn’t pulling any punches:

Horowitz: Here’s my lesson from the recent election in my newly adopted state: You’re too damn nice. Democrats call Republicans “racists, sexists, homophobes, Islamophobes, xenophobes” and “Nazis.” And Republicans call Democrats … “liberals.” Stop it! What are Democrats liberal about except sex, drugs, spending other people’s money, coddling criminals, giving America’s mortal enemies like Iran the benefit of the doubt, nuclear weapons and billions in cash to finance their terrorist activities, and opening borders to terrorists, sexual predators and whoever comes along? Democrats don’t even believe in due process any more. Innocent until proven guilty? That’s for aging white men – Republicans. The Democrats are satisfied with guilt by accusation. The Democratic Party is a party of racists, character assassins and, oh, liars. Say it.

For a party looking to broaden its appeal to an increasingly diverse Colorado electorate, the choice of Horowitz is puzzling. His recent appearance at the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in August led several large corporations to drop their ALEC memberships in protest. Verizon left in September, stating,

“Our company has no tolerance for racist, white supremacist or sexist comment or ideals.”

As outrage over Horowitz’s speech grew, ALEC distanced itself from him in a statement and removed video of his speech from their site. That wasn’t enough to stem the tide of companies abandoning the organization, however.

Last Friday, industry titans AT&T, Dow Chemical and Honeywell, also quit ALEC over Horowitz’s speech.     

Horowitz, who said via email that he did not charge for his appearance, was invited by State Sens. Kevin Lundberg (R-Berthoud) and Vicki Marble (R-Fort Collins) .

Lundberg dismissed concerns about Horowitz’s beliefs and positions, telling the Colorado Times Recorder he was aware of the concerns raised by companies that dropped their ALEC memberships, so he listened to the speech before inviting Horowitz to speak to the Republican caucus. He did not find the speech to be racist.  

Lundberg: “I believe he had some very salient points to make. He doesn’t mince words. He dives right in and tells you what he thinks in a very forthright manner. He does have some observations that are worth paying attention to… I came to the conclusion that Mr. Horowitz was not being fairly represented, and I felt he has valuable things to say to the Colorado Republican caucus and so I asked him to speak to us and he did.” 

Lundberg expressed disappointment that ALEC “capitulated” to “bullying” in issuing its statement disavowing Horowitz’s speech. He noted that “ALEC does an incredibly good job in informing and empowering state legislators with the basic principles of limited government, free markets and federalism.”

(more…)

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Trump Exposes Coffman’s Ugly Past on “Birthright Citizenship”


Responding to news this week that President Donald Trump would like to use an executive order to rescind the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of citizenship to persons born on American soil–which he can’t actually do–Rep. Mike Coffman, facing increasingly likely defeat next Tuesday, responded in a way that sounded fairly critical:

In Spanish, so there’s no confusion as to the target audience:

Since Trump took office, Coffman has had plenty of opportunities to triangulate off the president’s hard-line statements on immigration, and he’s taken some of them. Eliminating the constitutional guarantee of citizenship for children born on American soil is certainly one of the most controversial and aggressive moves Trump has proposed on immigration yet. Obviously, it’s in Coffman’s best interests to put as much daylight as possible between himself and this proposal with the swing voters he’s won over with his moderate tone.

Unfortunately for Mike Coffman, when it comes to the issue of “birthright citizenship,” there’s a problem.

The problem is that Mike Coffman himself co-sponsored legislation to rescind birthright citizenship, in both 2009 and 2011. This was back when Coffman was doing his best to uphold his congressional predecessor Tom Tancredo’s hard line anti-immigrant legacy, and before redistricting in 2011 redrew Coffman’s district to include a far more diverse and immigrant-heavy constituency. After that time, of course, these bills morphed from political asset to massive political liability; and Coffman has tried mightily to live them down, and reinvent himself wholesale on the issue.

But as you can see, Coffman can’t criticize Trump on the underlying issue, just the constitutionality of him doing this by executive order, without exposing himself as a hypocrite–even though it’s likely that Coffman’s legislation to rescind “birthright citizenship” would have run up against the 14th Amendment’s plain language too. Once you know Coffman’s true history on this issue, his weak statement of protest against Trump is exposed as a lame attempt to cover up Coffman’s own record. At the very least, a reporter needs to ask Coffman specifically what has changed between 2011, when he sponsored legislation to do exactly what Trump is proposing, and today when he wants voters to think he opposes it.

Better ask soon, though, because after next Tuesday it might not matter.

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Statehouse Candidate Grady Nouis Campaigns on Immigrant Crime Despite Criminal Record


(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Grady Nouis, the Republican candidate for an Arvada area statehouse seat in the Colorado legislature, talks a lot about crime. He’s primarily concerned that so-called “sanctuary cities” endanger residents, because undocumented immigrants who may live in these cities commit crimes, particularly drug crimes.  

In the summer of 2005, Nouis was arrested and charged with felony manufacturing of hallucinogenic mushrooms. He ultimately pled guilty to “maintaining a drug house” and possession of marijuana.

The arrest report, obtained by the Colorado Times Recorder via a source, explains how the police discovered Nouis’ suspected mushroom grow operation. He was living in a house owned by his parents in Grand Blanc, Michigan. They had moved to another city and were planning to sell the house in Grand Blanc. A realtor, believing their son to have returned to college, entered to prepare the house for a showing. She discovered numerous syringes and mason jars filled with a clear liquid and topped with plastic tubing. Believing she had discovered a methamphetamine lab, she called the police. After entering the property themselves, the police determined that it was a “psilocybin mushroom grow operation.”

“As we cleared the rest of the residence, we continued to find evidence of a psilocybin mushroom grow operation. We observed several dehydrating/drying units, packaged mushrooms ready for sale, the spores need to grow mushrooms a makeshift greenhouse made out of large plastic tubs with mushrooms growing along with various other items.”

HD29 Candidate Grady Nouis Arrest ReportAccording to court records, Nouis was initially charged with one felony count of “manufacture of psilocybin,” and one misdemeanor count of “possession of marijuana.” A plea bargain reduced the felony manufacturing charge to another misdemeanor, “maintaining a drug house.” Nouis was sentenced to three years of probation and paid fees and fines totaling $1,660.

(more…)

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