Colorado’s Morning News, Cory Gardner, March 7, 2018

Station:   KOA, 850 AM

Guests:    Gardner, Cory


Date:        March 7, 2018

Topics:     North Korea, Kim Jong Un, Denuclearization, Steel & Aluminum Tariffs, Canada, Mexico, Punishing consumers, Sanctions, Maxium Pressure Doctrine vs. Stategic Patience, Olympics, Propoganda, Manipulation, China, Turnover, Chaos, Tariffs, Trade Agreements

Click Here for Audio

HOST APRIL ZESBAUGH: [00:00:01] North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un now says he’s willing to negotiate with the United States about giving up their nuclear weapons. How’s the news playing in D.C.? Colorado U.S. GOP Senator Cory Gardner joins us now, with his perspective. Thanks for coming on.

U.S. SENATOR FROM COLORADO, CORY GARDNER: [00:00:15] Hey, thanks for having me.

ZESBAUGH: [00:00:16] April and Marty with you, here in Denver. So, the President called it a — quote — “very tenuous situation” and stopped short of calling this a breakthrough. Would you agree?

GARDNER: [00:00:23] Oh, absolutely! Look, this is a place we’ve been before with North Korea. They’ve made a lot of promises in the past. In fact, I just would remind everyone that North Korea has actually promised they would do a lot more in the past than just stop testing. They’ve actually said they’d give up the program, they’d allow inspections. And none of that has ever materialized. And so, this is good news. But it’s also something that we have to be very — have to take with very, very much more than just a grain of salt.

HOST MARTY LENZ: [00:00:50] Senator, is this because of the Olympics? Is this because of the President’s rhetoric over the last few weeks and months? Is it a combination of both, that you think North Korea now wants to talk?

GARDNER: [00:01:00] I’ve spent a lot of time talking to experts at the CIA, expert within the State Department and Department of Defense, about the effect of sanctions. There is no doubt that the Maximum Pressure Doctrine is having an effect on this regime. There’s also no doubt that Kim Jong Un is a master propagandist and that’s what he did by sending his sister to North Korea. The national media fawned all over North Korea, as if they hadn’t been putting hundreds of thousands of their own men and women and children in political gulags. And so, this is a combination — I think–of both. Number one, he’s starting to feel pressure — significant pressure — for the first time. Number two, he also knows how to market himself in a way to gain sympathy. And number three, he tries to manipulate that in terms of — in order to get more money, more deals, and a better deal going forward.

ZESBAUGH: [00:01:44] ‘Manipulation’ is a great word. So what’s next? The North and South are meeting soon. What’s the U.S.’s role for now, and when do you see a sit-down between the U.S. and North Korea?

GARDNER: [00:01:53] I think we hope that these talks result in good outcomes. That ‘good outcome’ would be concrete steps to the complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization of the Kim regime. And so, I think that’s what we’re looking for. And that’s what we have demanded. That’s something that we’re going to continue to demand. And so, I’m glad this is happening. But I also am very skeptical, until we see those concrete steps.

LENZ: [00:02:17] One more question on this topic: When will China get involved? Because, I would think you’d have to concede, Senator, until China is a part of this negotiation — since they’re really the ones that kind of have their finger hold on North Korea — nothing’s going to get done.

GARDNER: [00:02:27] Yeah, the road to peace in North Korea goes directly through Beijing. Beijing has done more over the past a year than they ever have in the past decade. They’ve stepped up a little bit more on sanctions. They’ve supported United Nations resolutions that they could have blocked. But there is no doubt, with the North Korea Economy entirely dependent on China, that they can continue to do more.

ZESBAUGH: [00:02:48] Switching gears Well we’ve got you on: we’ve seen a lot of turnover in this White House over the first year, [and] even more this week with the exit of a top economic adviser. Is there chaos in this White House? And does it affect how business — how what you folks are doing there on the ground?

GARDNER: [00:03:02] I think everybody would recognize that there’s a significant off-tempo at the White House, whether it’s the pace of actions, the face of Twitter — you name it! — at the White House. And so, I do think that this is just a very, very intense White House. I don’t think there’s chaos in the White House, as some would like to spread. In fact, I think you can just see the — what’s happening in North Korea — the fact these sanctions are working, the Maximum Pressure Doctrine has worked — in a year!– far more than eight years of Strategic Patience ever worked. And so, I think that’s just something that a lot of naysayers would like to — would like to believe.

LENZ: [00:03:35] What do you think about the tariff situation that the President is putting forth, with aluminum and steel, Senator? How do you feel about that?

GARDNER: [00:03:40] I’ve talked to a lot of Coloradans — farmers, people who are involved in business across Colorado — very concerned about the tariffs. I don’t think it’s the right step. Here’s what I’m afraid will happen: if you put a tariff on products, it’s going to result in retaliation by our trade allies, and it’s going to increase the costs for consumers who go to the grocery store. So I think it’s a bad idea. We need fair trade. We need trade agreements that are good for the United States. But we don’t need to penalize the American people in the process.

ZESBAUGH: [00:04:05] And before we run, congrats on your Bipartisan Award! Man, we need more of that in Washington!

GARDNER: [00:04:11] Well, I’m excited about it. It’s an honor. And it shows that we’ve been able to work across the aisle with people from around the country to implement policies that make a difference for Coloradans and people across this great nation.

LENZ: [00:04:21] Thank you so much, Senator. We appreciate your time.

GARDNER: [00:04:23] Thanks for having me.