3 Things To Listen For In President Donald Trump’s Colorado Springs Speech

Evan Vucci/AP
President Donald Trump arrives at SNHU Arena for a campaign rally, Monday, Feb. 10, 2020, in Manchester, N.H.

President Donald Trump headlines a campaign rally in Colorado Springs Thursday evening with Republican Sen. Cory Gardner.

As candidates tour around the country to campaign, their stump speeches usually stay pretty much the same. But the local details they do add in can be pretty telling.

In that spirit, here are three Colorado-specific things to watch for in Trump's speech tonight.

Trump In Colorado Springs

Sen. Cory Gardner and their relationship

Gardner has said he didn't vote for Trump in 2016, writing in Vice President Mike Pence instead. But the past three years have seen him draw closer to his party's polarizing president.

Gardner voted alongside nearly all of his fellow Senate Republicans to not impeach Trump and to not allow more evidence in the Senate trial. And more recently still, he sided against a resolution to rein in the president's power to take military action against Iran.

Gardner is in a tough spot as he tries to secure a second Senate term. Colorado has trended increasingly blue in the six years since he pulled off an upset victory over Democratic incumbent Mark Udall.

Normally a Senator in this environment might tack to the middle. But Trump's overwhelming popularity with Republican voters, and the president's willingness to attack members of his party he perceives as disloyal, means Gardner will likely need Trump's support if he hopes to win reelection in November.

So, Gardner will take the stage with the president tonight, and they are participating in a VIP fundraiser together beforehand.

We'll be watching to see how much time Trump spends on Gardner in his speech and what he says. We'll also keep an eye out for whether he singles out former Gov. John Hickenlooper or any of the other Democrats running to unseat Gardner for specific barbs.

Space Command or Space Force

Trump wants the military to get into the space business like never before by creating a sixth branch devoted to satellite-based operations and cybersecurity.

Space Force will eventually unite space resources currently spread through different divisions of the military. As a precursor, the administration has reactivated the Cold War-era Space Command. That was headquartered temporarily at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, but bases in Alabama and California are also on the Air Force's list of finalists for a permanent spot.

The city's Chamber of Commerce is now actively lobbying to keep Space Command in Colorado, a choice that could boost the state's already-large aerospace sector and bring more jobs to El Paso County in particular.

With that background, we'll be watching to see if the President has any big Colorado-centric news to announce about the future of Space Command and Space Force. We'll also see if Trump will share credit with Gardner if he does announce a permanent Colorado headquarters, which would be another potential boost for the Senator ahead of the election.

Colorado's immigration policies

While the President rallies supporters in Colorado, it's likely he'll take some swipes at the state's current Democratic leaders.

One area that could attract his ire are recent moves that make the state more welcoming to undocumented immigrants.

Last week, Eastern Plains Congressman Ken Buck introduced a bill that would punish states for granting drivers licenses to undocumented immigrants or restricting cooperation between local law enforcement. Colorado does both. Buck's bill aims to "support the Trump administration’s efforts to stop sanctuary policies," according to a press release sent by his office.

The administration has recently pushed back against some states for their so-called "sanctuary" policies, from de-enrolling New Yorkers from the Global Entry program to suing New Jersey and King County, Wash.

With Colorado lawmakers currently considering whether to ban ICE from making arrests at county courthouses, could a Colorado campaign stop be a chance to take more specific aim at the Centennial State?