WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Senate voted 82-14 on Thursday to confirm Robert Lighthizer, Trump’s nominee for U.S. trade representative.
Only three Republicans voted against Lighthizer, and Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado was one of them.
In a statement, Gardner said, “I could not support Robert Lighthizer’s nomination to become the United States trade representative because I’m afraid his policies could hurt Colorado’s farmers and ranchers. We have to allow our agricultural products to flow to markets around the world and negotiate fair deals that will boost agriculture exports.”
Two other Republican senators, John McCain of Arizona and Ben Sasse of Nebraska, and 11 Democrats also voted against Lighthizer.
In a letter to Lighthizer, McCain and Sasse wrote, “A constant theme throughout your confirmation process has been your failure to grasp the importance of protecting agriculture in trade negotiations.”
The Colorado Farm Bureau released a statement supporting Gardner’s vote against Lighthizer that said, “Sen.Gardner has proven yet again his commitment to the success of the families that make up Colorado agriculture, our state’s second-largest industry. Agriculture’s success or failure increasingly depends on international trade, and Colorado agriculture is no different.”
Although this vote was the first time Gardner had voted against the position or a nominee of President Donald Trump, it was not the first time Gardner has disagreed with the president.
In a telephone town hall in March, Gardner voiced his opposition to Trump’s proposed border wall.
Trump has previously said that he will “rip up” NAFTA, but Gardner reaffirmed his support for the trade deal in an April MSNBC interview.
After Trump called NATO “obsolete,” Gardner introduced a bipartisan bill in Congress to pledge “unwavering commitment” to NATO.
Gardner said in the statement that he is “committed to working with (Lighthizer) to advance the interests of Colorado’s agriculture community.”
Shira Stein is a reporting intern for the Herald in Washington, D.C., and a student at American University. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @stein_shira.