How Colorado Republicans transformed from “Never Trump” to Donald Trump loyalists in four years
The GOP convention this week complete’s Colorado’s evolution after making history in 2016 with its opposition to Donald Trump’s nomination
Colorado’s delegates to the 2016 Republican National Convention led a last-minute insurrection designed to prevent Donald Trump from securing the party’s nomination.
They called themselves “Never Trumpers” and staged a walkout on the convention floor in Cleveland.
Now, four years later, many of those anti-Trump delegates are among his fiercest supporters.
“We didn’t know how things would turn out four years ago,” said Andy Jones, a 2020 delegate for Trump who opposed his nomination in 2016. “This president has not disappointed. … I couldn’t be more thrilled.”
“I had it all wrong,” said Don Olmstead, another delegate from Colorado who vowed not to vote for the Republican nominee in 2016 because Trump didn’t have “any core principles.”
The turnabout in Colorado reflects the shift in national Republican sentiment after Trump’s takeover transformed the party into a one-man show and drew legions of unequivocal supporters. A series of recent polls show about 80% of Colorado Republicans approve of the president, an increase from 2016. And the change is evident at the top of the party.
U.S. Rep. Ken Buck — who doubles as the Colorado Republican Party chairman — led the opposition in 2016 as a top supporter of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, who won all the state’s presidential delegates in the caucus. On the convention floor in Cleveland, Buck shouted “Objection!” in response to party rules that locked in Trump’s delegate support. Two days later, he told delegates to “suck it up” and support the party’s nominee.
At the scaled-back convention Monday in Charlotte, N.C., where Colorado sent six delegates, Buck cast the state’s 37 votes for Trump in a full-throated endorsement. “The past four years, President Trump and Vice President Pence have made America great again in the eyes of the world so now our friends respect us and our enemies fear us,” Buck said from the convention hall, reprising the campaign’s “Make America Great Again” slogan.
Like the state’s delegates from four years prior, Buck cited the president’s record of conservative judicial appointments, his response to the coronavirus pandemic, new trade deals and tax cuts as reasons to support his reelection.
The difference between Colorado’s delegates now and then didn’t register with him. “It didn’t feel weird to me this time because I’ve been supporting the president in Congress as much as I can, and I have been really supporting him as a state party chair as much as I can,” Buck said in an interview afterward.
To read the rest of the Colorado Sun article, click here.
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