Senator Gardner supports Mueller investigation

Gardner’s comments followed the Cohen and Manafort convictions. Photo courtesy of Summit Daily

The republican senator has broken his silence
Gardner’s comments followed the Cohen and Manafort convictions. Photo courtesy of Summit Daily

On Aug. 22, Colorado US senator Cory Gardner released a statement through his spokesman, expressing support for Robert Mueller’s investigation of Trump’s presidential campaign. This happened the day after President Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, was found guilty on eight counts of financial crimes, and Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, pled guilty to eight counts in federal court, including two counts of making unlawful campaign contributions.

“Based off of the public reporting he has seen, Sen. Gardner believes the special counsel’s investigation has been conducted with the utmost integrity,” Gardner spokesman, Casey Contres, said. “These developments are the result of the Mueller investigation that Sen. Gardner will continue to support.”

However, Gardner’s overall relationship with Trump is difficult to decipher. Gardner was coincidentally with President Trump aboard Air Force One the day of Manafort’s conviction, as the two men were attending a campaign rally in West Virginia for senate candidate Patrick Morrisey.

Even so, Gardner didn’t endorse Trump until August 2016 after Trump had already secured the Republican Party’s nomination for president. Gardner was also one of the republican senators who asked Trump to resign after the release of the 2005 Access Hollywood tape in October 2016.

However, Gardner has not been publicly critical of Trump since his inauguration. Recently, Gardner expressed support for Trump’s controversial decision to revoke former CIA Director John Brennan’s security clearance, referring to Brennan’s comments regarding the Trump administration as “disgraceful.” 

While Gardner has stated he has supported the Mueller investigation from its inception, he has not addressed the issue on his official US Senate website or any of his social media accounts. Gardner is currently the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which is tasked with preserving the republican majority in the senate for the 2018 election cycle. Gardner’s position could make him reluctant to openly criticize the president, especially when republicans hold the Senate majority by just two senators. 

Colorado’s status as a “swing state” could also factor into Gardner’s responses to Trump. Gardner won his Senate seat by less than two percentage points in 2014, and Colorado has narrowly voted democratic in every presidential election since 2008. 

Cynthia Beard, a political activist in Boulder, believes Gardner has avoided addressing Trump’s controversies, because Trump has displayed a “pattern of attacking Republicans who are critical of White House policies.” Congressional republicans likely want to avoid the fate of Arizona Senator Jeff Flake, who announced he wouldn’t seek reelection after a public feud with Trump where Flake called Trump’s time as president an “alarming and dangerous state of affairs.”

Gardner’s public statements regarding Trump are likely an attempt to appease some democratic and independent voters who aren’t supportive of the current administration while not being so aggressive as to alienate Colorado republicans. Beard adds that “Sen. Gardner has a tendency to try to appear to be more moderate than he actually is,” attempting to appease the increasingly democratic-leaning electorate in the state.

The odd timing of Gardner’s statement on the Mueller investigation, which came the day after the senator accompanied President Trump on Air Force One, is indicative of national republicans’ strategy in addressing the investigation. According to Beard, “One of the main Republican attempts at deflection has been an assertion that Cohen’s and Manafort’s legal woes have nothing to do with Trump.” 

Latest posts by Samantha Register (see all)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *