Here’s How Colorado’s Congressional Delegation Reacted To Trump’s 2020 State Of The Union

Photos by Kevin J. Beaty and Alyson McClaren for Denverite and Nathaniel Minor for CPR News
Colorado Sens. Cory Gardner and Michael Bennet and Reps. Diana DeGette, Joe Neguse, Scott Tipton, Ken Buck, Doug Lamborn, Jason Crow and Ed Perlmutter.

The annual address to Congress is always a chance for presidents to offer a mix of aisle-crossing popular proposals and red-meat agenda setting, so it's no surprise that the reactions from the Coloradans in the audience split neatly along party lines.

“Tonight the President offered a call to put division behind us," Republican Senator Cory Gardner said in a statement after the speech, issuing his own call for the parties to work together on national security, health care costs, infrastructure, immigration, and public lands. “A divided Congress does not mandate a divisive Congress."

Gardner's focus on bipartisanship came on the eve of what is likely to be one of the most partisan days in recent Congressional memory, when the Senate will vote on whether to remove the president for allegedly subverting foreign policy for his personal political gain and refusing to cooperate in the House investigation into his actions.

Gardner's Democratic colleague, Sen. Michael Bennet, was harshly critical in his response to the speech, stating the president is ignoring the financial struggles of middle class Americans.

"Not surprisingly, tonight’s speech was full of half-truths and outright lies. In his boasts about the economy, the president ignored that the American economy is creating jobs at a slower rate than when Barack Obama was in his second term. He ignored that farm bankruptcies are at an eight-year high as a result of his reckless trade policies. He bragged instead about his tax cut that gave $37 billion to the wealthiest Americans and large corporations," Bennet said in a statement.

Among Colorado's House members, many aimed their responses at the most immediate audience: Twitter.

Governor Jared Polis also weighed in. "We are at a pivotal moment in our nation’s history where we must reject the manufactured division that is being shoved forward for the sake of political gain and work together on bold efforts to expand opportunity for all," Polis said in a statement.

The governor bypassed any direct reference to the content of the president's speech, and instead noted the shout-out Colorado received in the Democratic rebuttal. While listing the accomplishments of her colleagues around the nation, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer noted that Polis succeeded in expanding free, full-day kindergarten statewide.