At Aspen event, Sen. Cory Gardner condemns white supremacy in aftermath of killings

Rick Carroll
Aspen Times
Sen. Cory Gardner was in Aspen on Monday, and among his public appearances was an interview with Michael Makovskey, president and CEO of the Jewish Institute for National Security of America, at the Chabad Jewish Community Center. Rick Carroll/The Aspen Times

Sen. Cory Gardner told an Aspen audience Monday there is no simple solution to the mass shootings that have riddled the country — such as the two Sunday resulting in 31 deaths — including gun control.

“It’s absolutely devastating, what we continue to see,” Gardner said. “So how do we get into this and how do we end and stop it, while protecting other people’s rights, too?”

The Yuma Republican, citing constitutional rights, said he has no desire to implement gun-control measures to curb the violence.

“I don’t support gun control,” he said, noting he has worked on issues such as school violence and bullying and is backing the proposed “Eagles Act,” which would provide more resources to the U.S. Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center.

“It’s too late after the fact to find that white supremacy ideology led to the murders,” he said. “That’s unacceptable.”

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Gardner also condemned racism and its purported influence on some of the massacres, including the one Sunday in El Paso.

“The white supremacy voices should be condemned each and every time they raise their heads and their ugliness,” he said.

Gardner made his comments at Chabad Jewish Community Center, the venue for the senator’s discussion on relations between the United States and Israel with interviewer Michael Makovsky, president and CEO of the Jewish Institute for National Security of America. Gardner also was scheduled for a meet-and-greet at Zane’s Tavern later in the day.

President Donald Trump was referred to occasionally during Gardner’s appearance, including from one audience member who asked, “What are you doing to stand up to the leader of your party that spews racism and despite his denials, supports white nationalism?”

Gardner, a first-term senator up for re-election in 2020, would not directly answer the question but again condemned racism and bigotry.

“White supremacy has no room in this country,” he said as part of his response.

“What are you doing about your president?” the person followed up.

“I am going to continue to condemn the white supremacy at every chance and every opportunity I get,” he responded.

Makovsky and Gardner began their discussion on U.S. relations with Israel, as well as the recent tensions with Iran. Gardner called for more cooperation from other countries, such as France and Germany, when it comes to Iran.

“I do think it’s important that we have an allied approach to Iran, that we get our European allies together on this, that we create a sanctions regime that’s actually very effective and tough on Iran,” he said.

He added, “We have to protect our assets, resources and interests, and that’s why you do see the Department of Defense making an effort on force protection. We know that Iran is responsible for deaths of thousands of Americans in the Middle East . … We have to encourage our allies to do more throughout the region … and increase our economic sanctions before any consideration is given to military action.”

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