Republican Senator Cory Gardner, in between his back-to-back-to-back town halls on Tuesday, spoke with 9NEWS’ political reporter Brandon Rittiman.
Gardner was one of the first Republican leaders in Congress to push President Trump to condemn the KKK and Nazis, and he again took issue with the President casting blame elsewhere Tuesday afternoon, at an event at Trump Tower in New York.
Here is some of what Gardner said to us in his interview:
On how we should classify what happened in Charlottesville:
This is not a time for pale, pastel comments. This is a time for clarity, and this is a time to be absolutely clear. There is no moral equivalency in what happened in Charlottesville. We will not stand for the KKK, we will not stand for neo-Nazis, we will not stand for white supremacists. They don’t belong in this country, they aren’t a part of this country, and shame on anyone who fosters or propels their ideas.
The President has a moral obligation to make (the above) crystal clear … I haven’t seen the statements (the President made Tuesday). I’ve read what you read. The President cannot be equivocal in his statements, and I look forward to making sure we have those crystal clear, bold lines, that we will draw, that I will continue to draw, to make it clear.
On why he supports the President, while also denouncing him several times:
I have opposed policies of the President where I believed it was important to do that. This is an example in Charlottesville, when I didn’t think the President went far enough to call out the hatred, and the racism, and the bigotry that we witnessed. I’ve called out to my concern on travel ban. I also made it clear, my concern on “the wall” and better ways that we can move forward with it and immigration. Trade, NATO, Russia, you name it, I will continue to express my objections.
On removing Confederate monuments:
(Eliminating hate) takes a community. I don’t think there’s any one solution we can do. We’ve got to work together to address this.
We have to use this as a moment to say why they are wrong, and to teach our children why they are wrong, and to make sure our communities understand why they are wrong, and to make it crystal clear we don’t accept that ideology, that kind of hate, that kind of racism in this country.
On why he held a town hall after health care votes:
Well I’ve held over 100 town halls in my time in Congress. We’ll continue to hold town halls, tele-town halls because I believe in an all-of-the-above approach to addressing, and reaching out, and hearing back feedback from Constituents. This year we’ve held several tele-town halls. Tens of thousands of people engaged in them. We’ve down employer town halls prior to the votes on health care, where we visited with hundreds of employees at a time across the state. We’ve done economic roundtables. We’ve done over 400 meetings on health care. We’re going to continue to reach out to all four corners of the state and that’s going to use that all-of-the-above approach.
On when constituents should be told how he’ll vote on an issue:
Well, again. I think there was a lot changing. There were amendments that were being offered, and I think it’s important that we not jump to conclusions on legislation that we haven’t seen how it’s going to ultimately results.
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