A young up-and-coming Republican senator from a swing state assailed his party's presidential front-runner, Donald Trump, for hurting his party by spreading hate.
“Anytime you present a message that is seen as hate,” said Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado, “you're going to have a negative impact.”
Gardner, a Senate freshman with impeccable conservative credentials, made these comments in an interview on the Charlie Rose Public Broadcast System television program.
A shrewd and cautious politician, Gardner supports Marco Rubio's bid for the Republican nomination. The Coloradan's anti-Trump rhetoric—stronger than that of most Republicans—underscores the concern among office-holders over the impact the billionaire showman is having on the party.
Gardner especially objected to the Trump proposal to bar, for now, Muslims from entering America. “The idea we would create some kind of religious test for entry into the country is absolutely wrong.” He wondered if advocates would allow President Barack Obama “to create the religious test and to enforce that. They wouldn't really like that idea. But that's what he's espousing.”
A member of his party's moderate wing on immigration, Gardner also objects to what he sees as Trump's anti-immigration posture. Republicans can't be seen as a party that's “against people,” Gardner warned.
The senator won his job by narrowly defeating a Democratic incumbent in Colorado, a state where Latinos make up about 14 percent of the electorate. In the last presidential race, these voters went better than 3-to-1 for Obama, providing his winning margin in the state. In the Senate race last year, Gardner did much better with Latinos as he ousted Senator Mark Udall.
The Charlie Rose program aired on PBS Tuesday night; it will be rebroadcast on Bloomberg Television this evening.