EDITORIAL: Sen. Cory Gardner’s deflection on Trump’s treachery signals whom it is he now serves

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Answer the question, Sen. Cory Gardner.

The critical issue of impeachable behavior by President Donald Trump warrants honesty and integrity from Gardner and every member of Congress.

It warrants an answer.

Gardner virtually sealed his political fate this week when he refused to answer reporter questions about whether a president should enlist the aid of foreign countries to undermine political opponents.

Of course reporters were asking about President Donald Trump’s admission that he asked Ukraine leaders to “investigate” Joe Biden and his son Hunter. Journalists were asking Gardner about Trump’s subsequent on-camera appeal to China to also investigate the Bidens. Requests to Australia have also been reported.

And of course the answer from nearly every forthright current and former politician, from the left and the right, as well as legal and ethics experts, has been a resounding, “no.”

Gardner awkwardly stammered and dodged the question when confronted by reporters Thursday. He offered one sophomoric deflection after another when asked a simple query that is the crux of what is about to define Trump’s presidency and his looming impeachment.

“It’s an answer that you get from a very serious investigation,” Gardner told reporters.

In that moment, Gardner failed a test of fundamental integrity. He signaled his inability to save a re-election campaign already mired in his reputation for blind fidelity to a president who regularly undermines Gardner’s constituents. Gardner signaled his allegiance to a complicit band of Republican Trump sycophants who dangerously choose political expediency over the good of the nation.

No Journalist was asking Gardner if Trump actually asked foreign leaders for help investigating the Bidens. Trump has repeatedly admitted to the deed.

Alarmingly, some currently elected Republicans have said outright they have no problem with what Trump did. We have no doubt their answer would be starkly different had the requests to China, Ukraine and Australia been made by a Democratic president.

Reporters on Thursday  were simply asking where Gardner aligns himself on an issue that is fast becoming critical.

When Gardner’s flimsy feint didn’t work, reporters persisted, 12 times.

So he tried a different tactic, saying that Democrats have been wanting to impeach Trump from the beginning, and they’ve finally found something to latch onto.

Possibly, but so what? Neither Democrats nor the nation should ignore what Trump has done and admitted to. The Congress must ultimately decide whether enlisting foreign governments to undermine political foes is an impeachable act and whether it warrants ouster.

Finally, Gardner offered a final assault on the impeachment inquiry, saying that it’s a partisan attempt by Democrats to “undo” the last presidential election. This inane talking point doesn’t even make sense. Voters will be only months from an election that public polls show will almost certainly have the same effect as impeachment and removal, probably at about the same time.

Gardner isn’t alone in deflection antics that make Trump’s Congressional supporters and lackeys complicit in his illicit schemes and possible crimes. The same Gardner talking points and marching orders were issued by Republican or Trump officials to senators Joni Ernst in Iowa and Martha McSally in Arizona.

All three tried the same thing when confronted by reporters about Trump asking foreign nations to investigate political enemies. All three, representing states where a majority of voters understand the dangerous and odious nature of such a scheme, will likely dismiss these senators along with Trump.

Gardner refused 12 times when asked by reporters to tell constituents where he sides on the issue that is the nucleus of Trump’s impeachment inquiry. His deflection answers the next question: whether Gardner is qualified to continue to serve as Colorado’s junior senator. If he continues to refuse to answer, he obviously is not.