Dan Caplis Show, Cory Gardner, February 28, 2020

Station:    KHOW, 630 am

Show:       Dan Caplis Show

Guests:    Gardner, Cory

Link:        https://khow.iheart.com/featured/dan-caplis/content/2020-02-28-sen-cory-gardner-on-coronavirus-and-super-tuesday-preview/

Date:       February 28, 2020

Topics:     Colorado Springs

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HOST DAN CAPLIS [00:00:01] Hey, [it is] really a privilege to have Senator Cory Gardner back on the Dan Caplis Show, particularly at a moment like this, when coronavirus has sort of come out of nowhere for most folks and is now dominating the news cycles, a lot of water cooler conversations, et cetera. So we’ll talk to the senator about that in a second. I had a couple of other things on the list first.  And Senator, first of all, thank you for your time. I know it’s been a whirlwind for you.

U.S. SENATOR FROM COLORADO, CORY GARDNER [00:00:24] Oh, thank you for having me.

CAPLIS [00:00:25] And before we get into the meat of this, we haven’t talked since Colorado Springs — which I thought was extraordinary — at the president’s rally. But I thought the crowd’s reaction to you was so fantastic and so energetic. And your interaction with that crowd just left me very happy.

GARDNER [00:00:44] Well, it was a great experience! And, you know, you think about that crowd, Dan, nearly 72,000 people requested tickets. And, you know, there are eight or nine thousand people that were in the facility. It’s just remarkable to see that energy and enthusiasm.  And as, you know, somebody who can’t sing, who can’t dance, who really had no skills, I think that’s the closest I’ll ever be to a rock concert.

CAPLIS [00:01:05] I tell you! [laughs] And as I watched you down with the people, as we were all waiting for the president to come in, there was just such a great natural positive energy. I have never seen — and I’ve been blessed to cover a lot of different crowds, including Obama crowds, Sarah Palin crowds, et cetera.– I’ve never seen a crowd as focused, as energetic, as sharp, as ready to just go out and win. So, that was that was really a tremendous experience. Hey, uh, before we get into corona[virus], I know that the passing of Donald Stratton has really touched you. It is a tremendous Colorado story. So, can you fill folksand a little bit on that great, inspiring story?

GARDNER [00:01:43] Yeah, you know, Donald Straten is just a gallant man who was on the USS Arizona, December 7th, 1941, when it was attacked by the Japanese. And his life changed, as did the country’s change at that flash in time. And, you know, he was saved by an individual named Joe George. And he spent the rest of his life not only fighting for this country, but fighting to make sure that Joe George — the man who saved him and five other lives — is recognized for his heroism. And we helped — played a very small role in that fight as he just championed the cause for his fellow shipmates. And, you know, he passed away this past week.  And he became a friend, and America is a stronger place because of people like him. And we’re just  — we’re losing them. And there’s only two survivors of that ship — the USS Arizona — left. And, you know, this Saturday, we’re going to say our final goodbye. But I can’t imagine what revele at the pearly gates must look like, that he gets to join with all of his fallen shipmates, right now.

CAPLIS [00:02:46] Man, [what an] inspiring story, and symbolic — as you well know and everybody listening knows — of so many more, you know, great Americans out there risking everything for us. Hey, another issue, GovTrack, which is one of these nonpartisan type of outfits, just issued a report on bipartisanship. And I wanted to bring that out because one of the dishonest attacks [that] the left launches here in Colorado against you is that day you’re just in Donald Trump’s pocket, you’re not really an independent senator, et cetera.  But this nonpartisan outfit says otherwise.

GARDNER [00:03:19] You know, it really does push back on the narrative that they have tried to lie about for so many years. The fact is, we work in extremely bipartisan fashion across the aisle, getting more done for Colorado than has been done by a senator in a very long time. And, you know, whether it’s moving to BLM headquarters to Colorado or constructing a clean drinking water pipeline that was supposed to be built 60 years ago, and we just got the money to construct it a couple of weeks ago, I think it shows the kind of success you can have when you work across the aisle. And sure, you’re going to agree and you’re going to disagree with other points of view. But the bottom line is we have got to work for the people of Colorado. And that’s what we’ve been able to do.

CAPLIS [00:03:57] Yeah. And I think you’ve got Colorado pretty well positioned for Space Force, in that competition, don’t you?

GARDNER [00:04:03] We do, and I’m excited. You know, I just spoke to the secretary of defense a couple of days ago about it again. And I was over at the White House meeting with the president about another policy that we hope to roll out next week. And you know, he knows:  “I know, I know — Space Force.”  And so they know exactly what I’m coming to him with. [Laughs] .

CAPLIS [00:04:20] Yeah. And — which obviously would be beyond a big deal. But this GovTrack business — just to put a bow on that — this isn’t just some subjective, “Hey, let’s have a cup of coffee and think about who we like best.”  I mean, this is based on data.  You’re first among GOP senators in bipartisan bills introduced, and second in the entire Senate on that same score. So that says something.

GARDNER [00:04:43] Well, right. And I think it shows that we can actually get things done. And it is not a Republican outfit that did it. It’s not a Democrat outfit that did it. They just looked at the facts, the data, and came to the conclusion.

CAPLIS [00:04:53] Yeah, let’s jump in to the coronavirus, which for most Americans has just sort of exploded on the scene. I think most good people across party lines are still –they’re not worried about the politics of it — they’re trying to figure out, you know, health for themselves, their family, their community, et cetera. [We are] not really sure what to believe, because on the one hand you have Nancy Pelosi and the left out there saying, you know, the administration has failed us all and they’re horrible things coming. You have the administration saying, whoa, hold on, this is under control. Where do you come down on corona[virus]? What’s the latest?

GARDNER [00:05:25] Well, look, we need –.  You know, if you look at the flu, we have decade after decade of statistics, information, health studies. We know what to expect, what it means. This is so new that we’re just weeks into trying to figure out this new virus. That being said, I think the unprecedented steps of shutting down flights to China and out of China, the screenings that were taken. And the quarantine, this is the first time we saw the kind of quarantines that we did since the 1960s with a smallpox issue, and this was even on a bigger scale. And so that’s an appropriate step. We need additional guidance, screening and guidances for our municipalities, our cities, and our airports, particularly those that may be dealing with the hot spots like South Korea or Italy. We need to continue the resources and not let people politicize it. But if they — if the scientists and the health care experts believe it’s 2.5 billion [dollars] they need or or more, we need to make sure the appropriate level is what we focus on, not the political partisan levels.

CAPLIS [00:06:26] Yeah, and when we talk about the money piece of this, I mean, this is not a case where the GOP is resisting spending as much as it takes. This is a case where the GOP has said, “Hey, at this point, we think it’s going to take somewhere between 2.5 and 4 [billion dollars], but we’ll go wherever we need to. Is that fair?

GARDNER [00:06:43] Yeah, it is. And I think they’re looking right now at somewhere between 6 and 8 [billion dollars] that the appropriators we’re talking about. Look, there — people should not be worried about whether or not the money will be there. It will be there. The appropriate levels must be given to the health officials and the agencies. I’ve sent multiple letters, made multiple phone calls and had a number of meetings — including, you know, at the very beginning of the impeachment trial. when this very first surfaced, I demanded a briefing from HHS and CDC and we got one. And so we have been on top of this, the government for it from the very beginning.

CAPLIS [00:07:20] And when it comes — Senator Cory Gardner, obviously, [is] our guest — when it comes to Corona, is Colorado in any way uniquely situated or are we just sort of right there in the middle along with all the other states except the coastal states?

GARDNER [00:07:33] You know, I think we have a very healthy population, a younger population when compared to other states. And we have a health care infrastructure that’s ready for this. We have a number of federal labs. We have the CDC facility here. But everybody has to be cautious. I saw The Denver Post, a sort of letter — article yesterday about, you know, preparing like you would for a snowstorm, just in case. The governors comments this morning, that he believes Colorado was well prepared and well situated. And we just need to make sure that there’s coordination between local health officials, the local hospitals, and state and federal agencies.

CAPLIS [00:08:03] Yeah, I don’t want to go back to your comment a second ago about the flu, because honestly, until corona[virus] sort of arrived, I had no idea that two years ago 80,000 Americans had died of the flu, an average of 200 a day, though it was packed more into the winter season, of course. But my goodness, if now for example, 100 Americans died in a day from corona[virus], it would be, of course, horrific. But it would probably stop the country in its tracks. So, what is the proper response for this nation, assuming that we’re going to wake up some morning — and I hope we don’t — but we wake up some morning and there are a ton of corona[virus] cases across the country? God forbid we have some deaths, etc. what should the nation’s response be at that point?

GARDNER [00:08:47] Well, it’s got to be the appropriate response, making sure that the American people have all of the information, complete transparency, [that] they understand what we’re dealing with, [that[ they understand what this means, [that] they understand how it’s actually developing, what’s actually happening, and that we get the tests, the resources, the screening out to the communities, [that] we have the personnel on the ground — the coordination — that they understand what’s happening, and that the states are able to carry out their emergency plans in the appropriate way. So, this is a case where you err on the side of transparency and information. As much information as we can get out there, needs to get out there.

CAPLIS [00:09:22] See, I think that’s the key because unlike, say, the flu that causes so much harm each winter now, corona[virus] is an unknown to a certain extent. So I think that’s exactly right. What people want from you, what people want from the government is, “Hey, give me all the information that’s obtainable — and make sure you obtain it all — so I can make my own decisions, you know, as a parent, as a spouse, as an employee, as an employer.” Yeah, I think you nailed it.  I think that’s the key for all of us. And then we’ll just make our own decisions.

GARDNER [00:09:52] That’s right. And we need to make sure that the resources are there to expedite a vaccine. You know, because of the SARs epidemic or outbreak a couple of years ago, we have some path forward that will help shortcut some of the approach on the vaccine. But we need to make sure that we’re removing barriers and get that expeditiously through and learn as much as we can.

CAPLIS [00:10:15] And Senator, [I am] grateful for your time. The way I’d like to wrap this corona[virus] conversation is finally about the politics of it, because what I think is truly insidious here is that you have some on the left — and some to their credit who have not jumped into those waters — but some on the left coming right out of the gate, attacking the president over this, such as Nancy Pelosi saying it’s a chaotic response, criticizing him personally. Michael Bloomberg is up with ads criticizing the president on corona[virus]. How do you think the American people are going to react to that kind of politicization of this issue?

GARDNER [00:10:49] Well, you know, I have great faith in the American people. I think they’re very smart, a far smarter than Washington ever gives them credit for. And they’ll see through the partisan attacks and they’ll understand what is the right approach to this. And that’s exactly what we have to do, is not get distracted by a Chuck Schumer: “Hey, I could monopolize power if this goes my way.” That’s a horrible way to look at this. But to look at this through the lens of what’s best for the American people and how do we respond to it in the appropriate and the right fashion.

CAPLIS [00:11:17] And finally, an open ended question:  what else, if anything, is going on right now that may not be headlines that people need to be aware of, thinking about, maybe getting involved in?

GARDNER [00:11:29] You know, we’re just — we’ve got Super Tuesday coming up. This is where we’re going to —  Colorado looks like it’s going to elect Bernie Sanders. And I think people need to realize that Bernie Sanders isn’t the socialist and everybody else is just a moderate. OK, they’ve all adopted his policies. They’ve all embraced the Green New Deal. They’ve all embraced a.. Oil and gas platforms. They all want some form of either a public option or Medicare for all, which would devastate rural hospitals, rural health care, threaten 170+ million Americans’ insurance. And so, you know, this is not just a moderate versus liberal. This is socialist versus socialist. And that’s what’s so frightening about this election. So don’t let the press try to convince people that, “Well, their health care plan is only a $40 trillion plan, so they’re moderate!” Don’t fall for that.

CAPLIS [00:12:16] [laughs] Right. Great point, Senator. Hey, grateful for the time. Hope we can talk soon.

GARDNER [00:12:21] Thanks for having me. Dan. Thanks.

CAPLIS [00:12:22] Thanks, sir. Take care. That is US Senator Cory Gardner.