Sen. Cory Gardner finally had a town hall, just not the kind that protesters had been insisting on. It was tele-town hall. Gardner was in Washington and the callers were in Colorado. There was no face-to-face, but there were some tough questions, even though the phone-call questions were screened.
And nearly 10,000 people were on the line, which is a lot of people for a 45-minute call. Of course, there were more than a thousand who showed up last week for a no-show-Cory town hall at Byers Middle School, where a cardboard cutout of Gardner stood in for the Republican senator.
Gardner had to start the questions a half hour early because he had a last-minute luncheon invitation that he couldn’t refuse — from President Donald Trump. But he did answer close to a dozen questions — on Gardner’s votes on cabinet appointees, on Senate investigations into Russian involvement in the 2016 election, on the travel ban executive order, on legalized pot and more.
He didn’t make any headlines with his answers. He did say, once again, that Trump’s travel ban was “overly broad.” And he said he wanted more clarity from the White House on Colorado’s legalized pot. He condemned the apparent hate crimes seen against Jews and Muslims since Trump has become president.
And he defended his cabinet votes, saying “Elections have consequences.” He has voted for all of Trump’s appointees, including such controversial choices as Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
On the matter of repealing and replacing Obamacare, Gardner went with what has become the go-to answer for Republicans: offering more access to insurance. What access means has not yet been definite. And no plan has yet come forth. Meanwhile, the timetable for repealing and/or replacing has continued to be fluid.
Gardner’s Web site promises more tele-town hall meetings, which, it says, will be announced. You can sign up to receive announcements. But it makes no mention of in-person meetings.
Photo of Gardner speaking live-and-in person at an agriculture conference in last week, by Susan Greene