DENVER – Sen. Cory Gardner was aboard Air Force One with President Trump Tuesday shortly after the president found out his former lawyer entered a plea deal with federal prosecutors and implicated Trump in campaign finance violations.
The Republican from Colorado also received a shout-out from President Trump at Tuesday night’s rally in Charleston, W.V. as the president trumped for Senate candidate Patrick Morrisey, who is trying to defeat Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin in November's election.
Gardner chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), which is in charge of getting Republicans elected to the Senate and trying to keep them there. Manchin’s West Virginia seat is one of the GOP’s main focuses to try and flip this year, as Trump won the state by a 42 percent margin in 2016 and won every county.
“This is a man that really – he makes a promise and it’s 100 percent good. He’s tremendous and done so much. He’s from a place called Colorado, and he’s helping lead our campaign to elect more Senate Republicans like the man we’re going to elect in West Virginia,” Trump told the crowd Tuesday night, pointing out Gardner in the audience. “Cory Gardner. Thank you, Cory. Thank you, Cory. Great job. You’re doing a great job, thank you.”
Gardner joined Trump on the trip shortly after Michael Cohen agreed to a plea deal with federal investigators and implicated Trump in “hush money” payments made to two women—an adult film actress and former Playboy model—that Cohen said were made to affect the outcome of the 2016 election. Almost simultaneously, Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, was convicted on eight of 18 charges he faced in a tax evasion and bank fraud trial.
A spokesman for Gardner’s office did not respond to questions from Denver7 sent Wednesday morning about whether or not the president discussed the cases on Air Force One or what it was like traveling and attending a rally with Trump after the high-profile news.
Gardner and the NRSC are targeting several states this year, including West Virginia, Missouri and Montana, to try and strengthen the GOP's currently-slim majority in the Senate. Many of the states being targeted for Trump appearances and extra spending over the next couple of months are states Trump won in 2016 and have Democratic senators up for election this year.