Update: First, Darryl Glenn, the Colorado Republican Party's nominee for the U.S. Senate, endorsed GOP standard-bearer Donald Trump for the presidency. Then, after the release of a 2005 Access Hollywood recording in which Trump boasted about women letting him do anything he wanted to them because he's famous, Glenn demanded that he step down in favor of his vice-presidential running mate, Indiana governor Mike Pence. Days later, though, he suggested during an appearance on Fox News that he'd reconsider if Trump would sit down with him and chat; see our previous coverage below.
The latest? Trump didn't schedule a sit-down with Glenn last week — but the Coloradan's position has somehow evolved again anyhow. Now, Glenn says that as the "head of my party in the state," he'll vote for Trump but not endorse him — because he doesn't personally know his heart and character.
We explored the vote-but-not-endorse balancing act in an August post headlined "Any Difference Between Saying You'll Vote for Donald Trump and Endorsing Him?" At that time, Colorado Senator Cory Gardner was trying to walk this line, which had first been trod by New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte, who told CNN that while Trump "has my vote, he doesn’t have my endorsement."
In the post, Republican strategist Dick Wadhams told us, "I don't think there's really any difference between endorsing and saying you're going to vote for somebody. But that doesn't mean you have to spend any time running around the state campaigning for the candidate, either. So there's no difference, but there are differences in degrees of intensity."
For Glenn, however, the situation has gotten trickier given his vacillating on the subject — and it's unclear if he thought he was making a public announcement about another shift. His newest Trump remarks were made on Friday, October 14, at a candidate forum hosted by the business-oriented group Colorado Concern that was "open to only members of Colorado Concern," according to this online event notice. Nonetheless, the Denver Post managed to obtain a recording of his remarks, and while the audio is lousy (listen to it below, along with a transcript), it's good enough to hear Glenn struggle to articulate his position on Trump.
Glenn said that his background growing up in a family visited by domestic violence caused him to have a visceral reaction to the Access Hollywood excerpt, but he decided to reach out to Trump anyhow because of his Christian views about redemption and his sense that the Donald's apology during the second presidential debate was sincere. Problem is, he hasn't gotten a chance to speak man to man to Trump about the imbroglio — and "when I personally endorse, it means that I know your heart, I know your character, and I am personally attached to that. And I cannot [know Trump's right now]. If that changes, we can revisit that."
However, Glenn stresses that "I will absolutely be supporting the Republican platform and voting for Mr. Trump," because "when it comes to evaluating the policies of what we're going to be able to do, with regards to weighing the Republican Party platform versus the Democrats', it's not even a choice. I will be supporting the Republican ticket and Republican candidates."
There's no telling at this point whether this nuanced take will satisfy supporters who accused Glenn of flip-flopping on his own Facebook page; continue to see examples. But the latest Real Clear Politics composite of polls has incumbent Senator Michael Bennet ahead by more than 12 points.
Here's the audio recording of Glenn's remarks and the transcript, followed by our previous coverage.
Darryl Glenn transcript:
Thank you everybody for being here. I'm just in awe of you and your accomplishments. I'm so glad you asked that question. It gives me an opportunity to share where we're at in this election cycle. I mean, this is either the best or the worst reality TV show ever. Let me give you an idea of my background. I grew up in a broken home. Domestic violence is real. When a man puts his hand on a woman, it has a tremendous impact on my life. And when this story first came out, and I heard that, I had a reaction as a father, as a Christian, and I was very concerned and deeply moved by that.... That's how I felt, and I'm not going to apologize for that.... Over the next couple of days, you have the opportunity for debate. Now, people will say Mr. Trump made an initial apology. He did. However, the apology that he made during the debate, that was a genuine apology, where you're not reading a teleprompter, where you're standing up and you're giving your thoughts. That carried more weight. My faith teaches me you never close a door on anybody, and provide an opportunity to redeem yourself and extend that embrace, and that's what I've done. And that's when I said, "I don't know him as an individual, so I will extend an opportunity to talk to him." And that opportunity is still there. But what Republicans must understand, especially here in Colorado — it's fine to sit here and talk to Republicans, but you also must understand that when I'm out there as the head of my party in this state, when I'm talking to Democrats and unaffiliateds, the first question out of their mouth is to justify the confidence for my candidate, and I cannot do that without not having a relationship with that individual. So where I'm at right now is that I will absolutely be supporting the Republican platform and voting for Mr. Trump. I will not personally be endorsing Mr. Trump. And here's the distinction. When I personally endorse, it means that I know your heart, I know your character, and I am personally attached to that. And I cannot. If that changes, we can revisit that. But when it comes to evaluating the policies of what we're going to be able to do, with regards to weighing the Republican Party platform versus the Democrats', it's not even a choice. I will be supporting the Republican ticket and Republican candidates.
Original post, 7:12 a.m. October 11: At 7 p.m. tonight, Colorado Republican senatorial nominee Darryl Glenn will appear alongside Senator Michael Bennet in a one-hour Channel 20 broadcast — their only televised debate. It's also the pair's last scheduled square-off, and while we don't know the subjects that will be discussed, Glenn will undoubtedly be asked about his apparent flip-flop on GOP presidential standard-bearer Donald Trump.
As we reported yesterday in our post headlined "After Dumping Trump, Cory Gardner Gets Crushed by HBO's John Oliver Anyway," Glenn was among the Colorado Republicans who withdrew an endorsement for Trump following the Friday, October 7, release of a 2005 video that found him making profane comments about acts critics see as sexual assault. In a statement shared on his Facebook page the following day, Glenn wrote:
"As a father, as a Christian, and as a Republican, I believe that we simply cannot tolerate a nominee who speaks this way about women.
"This is the most important election of our lifetime. Hillary Clinton is a threat to the rule of law, and to our safety and security. But Donald Trump is simply disqualified from being Commander in Chief — America cannot have a man who speaks this way about women be the face of our country to the Free World.
"I am therefore calling on Donald Trump to do the honorable, selfless thing — voluntarily step aside and let Mike Pence be our party's nominee so that we can defeat Hillary Clinton, keep control of the Senate, and put our nation back on a path of safety and security.
"If Trump is truly committed to making America great again, then this is the only way forward."
During the campaign, Glenn has run hot and cold about Trump's candidacy. He spoke on Trump's behalf at the Republican National Convention. But when we asked Glenn about Trump in a wide-ranging interview published last month, he underplayed his endorsement and tried to change the subject back to Bennet.
Here's an excerpt from the Q&A:
A lot of Republican candidates across the country have distanced themselves from Donald Trump. But you took a prominent speaking role at the Republican National Convention and have spoken about him in positive terms. Why did you make that decision? And why do you think a Donald Trump presidency would be good for America?
I would say the best way to characterize that is, I support our party's nominee, and Donald Trump is our party's nominee. But what I also want to make sure people recognize is that when it comes to the United States Senate race, it's Darryl Glenn versus Michael Bennet. I can't control what everybody else does, but I'm not going to allow people to be distracted from what's important in this election in Colorado. And in Colorado, what they need to recognize is a sharp contrast between Darryl Glenn and what he's going to do versus Michael Bennet's record. A lot of people spend, in my opinion, way too much time talking about everything else that's going on instead of focusing on the Senate race and what's going on in Colorado. My focus is on that.
Do you think any discussion about who does or doesn't support Donald Trump is a distraction from those local issues you mention?
What I think is, it's not a balanced discussion. It's always about Donald Trump, it's never about Hillary Clinton. And I believe, especially when we have debates with Mr. Bennet, that it's a waste of time when you're supposed to be talking about the U.S. Senate race that you're being asked to justify the policies of your candidate at the top of the ticket. We should be focusing on what is Darryl Glenn going to do versus Michael Bennet. So to continue to go down and do the point-counterpoint, in my opinion, doesn't serve the public well when you're trying to make a decision about who's going to be the best person to represent you in the United States Senate. I want to keep you focused on my record and why I'm the better person to serve in the Senate than Michael Bennet.
But just when it seemed as if Glenn had moved on from Trump, he popped up on Fox News yesterday afternoon and re-engaged on the subject. He didn't tell host Neil Cavuto that he'd decided to endorse Trump again, but he praised the candidate's performance during his second debate with Democratic standard-bearer Hillary Clinton on Sunday, October 9.
"Donald Trump did what he absolutely had to do," Glenn told Cavuto. "He reset this campaign. People were wanting him to come out and show contrition [for the remarks in the video], and he did that. He accepted responsibility. The other thing that he did — and this is something as a down-ballot candidate that we've been frustrated about — he prosecuted the case against Hillary Clinton. We now have the ability to draw a sharp contrast, and I think it's extremely important now that we take advantage of that. That's why I'm personally going to go out there — I'm trying to get on his calendar for Thursday — and talk about some of the issues I've been working with community leaders and the underserved community [on]. And I want to personally ask him to come to Colorado and share his vision for economic prosperity. And if he does that...."
At that point, Cavuto noted that Glenn had withdrawn his endorsement of Trump days earlier and asked whether he'd had a change of heart.
To that, Glenn responded, "I want to be able to extend him the courtesy of being able to show that he has a plan and he has the ability to prosecute the case."
"Yesterday at this time, he was chopped liver," Cavuto interjected. "What happened?"
"He stepped up and took responsibility," Glenn replied. "Then he proceeded to prosecute the case. We didn't have that. I think it's extremely important, because Hillary Clinton then.... We caught her in a lie. And then she talked about her expansive vision for the Supreme Court. This is precisely what we need to frame the issue around with regard to winning this election. And I think that's going to resonate within the underserved communities. And that's why I want to extend the invitation. I hope he will accept that and come to Colorado and have a town hall meeting with this particular group I'm trying to arrange a meeting with."
Can Trump win Colorado?, Cavuto wanted to know.
"That is so critical, because as someone who's running for statewide office, they say, 'Where is he at?'" Glenn answered. "They want an opportunity to be able to share with him their stories, the pain that's out there, the real suppression of economic opportunity, the real suppression of faith. These are areas that are very critical, and he needs to come to these areas and show up. And if he does, I believe they'll give him a fair shake."
What about the antipathy toward Trump displayed by leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives?, Cavuto asked.
"Well, I can't control them," Glenn acknowledged. "The only thing I can do is, I made a commitment to be the captain of this team here in Colorado, and when I'm thinking about the possibility of Colorado — of being able to win in this state — he can come here and lay out that vision, and lay out and show that he can be a president to everyone. And I think that's critical to win Colorado."
Does this mean Glenn will now vote for Trump? Last night, he told 7News that beyond being certain he won't support Clinton, he was undecided about how he'll cast his ballot. We've reached out to his campaign representative, and when and if we receive a reply, we'll update this post
In the meantime, however, many of the folks posting on Glenn's Facebook announcement about tonight's debate believe he's gone back on his word — and they're not happy about it. A short time ago, one commenter shared this photo....
...along with the following message: "Maybe they'll ask about your flip flopping on DT because he's flying you somewhere Thursday. You lose all credibility for walking back your denouncement."
Other sample Facebook responses:
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You have lost my vote, you don't have the backbone to be a good Senator for THE PEOPLE. Trump will win in spite of all the media, GOP elite, because we the people have had enough!
Can't believe how spineless you are: For Trump, Against Trump, Now You're FOR TRUMP Again...After you must have heard that he's very proud of sexually assaulting (multiple since he said 'they') women in the most vile fashion. This is the kind of stink that doesn't wash off! You caved when a few people yelled at you when They Are In The Minority. #Loser
If you support Trump, then you're hooking your wagon to the same kind of disgraceful behavior he has displayed. You are not qualified to even be in the same room as Bennett. I wonder how much Trump paid you to switch again? Just a hint; I would suggest not letting your female family members in the same building as Trump if you love and respect them.
Well ya lost my vote. You are just another spineless politician. I thought you were different. I was wrong. America needs change, a vision, and a spine. That's not you. America really does need Trump now more than ever. Trump 2016
Not gonna vote for you after your flip-flop-flip. How can I be sure you believe what you say? #Turncoat
True, other Facebook comments about Glenn's latest take on Trump were more supportive. But that doesn't mean he'll be able to avoid the topic at tonight's debate.