The president of the United States was on the line again.
U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, elected in 2014 as a rising star in the Republican party, joined other senators on a conference call with President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. The subject: How to begin reopening America’s economy.
Gardner took the call from a private office in a coworking space carved from the elementary school he attended, and his parents attended before him, in this Eastern Plains town.
It’s close enough to his house that he can get there for lunch and, on this day, make chili for dinner.
Later in the day, Gardner spoke to Gov. Jared Polis about a letter they and Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet were sending to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell informing him of Colorado’s needs. He spoke to banking leaders about nagging problems with the federal Paycheck Protection Program. He conducted a pair of TV interviews.
“Constant calls,” Gardner said. “There are constant calls, scheduled and unscheduled.”
Gardner is up for reelection in November and his seat is considered one of the most vulnerable for Republicans in 2020. His relationship with Trump is central to the campaign, and in recent months the pair have been closely aligned and supportive of each other.
Gardner has been speaking regularly with Trump throughout the crisis. He said the president recently called late at night to pick his brain about trying to bring America back to normalcy.
“I talk to him about what I’m hearing,” Gardner said of the conversations. “He’s asking, ‘How do you think we should reopen the economy, get out of where we’re at right now?’”