Republican Senator Cory Gardner’s Constituents Demand His Party Do More to Combat Hate

“It’s not just in Charlottesville…and it’s not the first time.”

At a town hall meeting in Colorado Springs on Tuesday, Republican Senator Cory Gardner came face to face with a raucous crowd imploring him to do more to fight back against hateful rhetoric. The town hall came just three days after a white nationalist protest in Charlottesville, Virginia left one woman dead and at least 34 injured.

At the Gardner town hall, a local rabbi told the story of her synagogue being desecrated just two weeks earlier. “It’s not just in Charlottesville…and it’s not the first time” she said (at 34:30 minutes of the video above). “Do you see the connection between what the Trump administration and your party do in the building of hate and division?”

Although Colorado as a whole voted for Hillary Clinton in last year’s presidential election, more than 60 percent of Colorado Springs’ county picked Donald Trump. The city has long been known as a conservative hub, home to the Christian organization Focus on the Family and the US Air Force Academy. Most of the town hall’s attendees, however, appeared to strongly oppose the president. Many applauded Gardner’s denunciation of Trump’s initial response to the violence in Charlottesville over the weekend.

Thirty-five minutes into the meeting, attendees became louder about their disapproval of Trump’s administration, and started shouting things like “Get Steve Bannon out!” and “Call out Trump!” One man who identified himself as Jewish asked: “Are you confident that Donald Trump is fit to lead the country?” and was met with positive applause. Gardner replied that Trump was elected by “the people of the country,” and that he does believe the current president is fit for the role.

Failing to quiet the rowdy crowd, the moderator started announcing the impending end of the town hall—more than thirty minutes ahead of time. A father who lost his son in the 2012 mass shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado scolded Senator Gardner for never answering a single request for a meeting in the past five years. Now, he said, he had a new question (at 1:05:00): “Will you ask that the peddlers of the alt-right messaging who are employed in the White House…are taken off of the government payroll?” he said, mentioning Steve Bannon. “I don’t want to be paying their salaries.”

THE BIG QUESTION...

as we head into 2020 is whether politics and media will be a billionaires’ game, or a playing field where the rest of us have a shot. That's what Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein tackles in her annual December column—"Billionaires Are Not the Answer"—about the state of journalism and our plans for the year ahead.

We can't afford to let independent reporting depend on the goodwill of the superrich: Please help Mother Jones build an alternative to oligarchy that is funded by and answerable to its readers. Please join us with a tax-deductible, year-end donation so we can keep going after the big stories without fear, favor, or false equivalency.

THE BIG QUESTION...

as we head into 2020 is whether politics and media will be a billionaires’ game, or a playing field where the rest of us have a shot.

Please read our annual column about the state of journalism and Mother Jones' plans for the year ahead, and help us build an alternative to oligarchy by supporting our people-powered journalism with a year-end gift today.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.