Trump Colorado co-chair Robert Blaha: Hickenlooper has no mandate to defy new president

Donald Trump at the Western Conservative Conference 2016. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)western conservative conference 2016; colorado convention center; donald trump; election; politics; vote; denver; denverite; kevinjbeaty; colorado

Colorado Public Radio has an interview with Robert Blaha, a Colorado Springs businessman who co-chaired Trump’s state campaign, on what a Trump presidency might mean for the state and the region.

Blaha predicts that Trump’s presidency will be “the most shocking one to three years that America has seen in generations.”

He says that institutions will be dismantled and regulations set aside in ways he thinks will be good for Colorado, particularly on the energy front. He predicts that public lands will be opened up more for drilling and mining “when and where it makes sense” and that Colorado will have a larger voice in policy.

“I think you’re going to see some major, major changes that are all good for everyone in America, whether you’re left, right, old, young, black, white, conservative, liberal, doesn’t make any difference,” he said. “I think it’s going to be a very good time with very major changes.”

Blaha rejected the idea that Trump was backing down from his campaign promises, such as repealing Obamacare immediately and prosecuting his opponent, Hillary Clinton. What’s happening, he told CPR, is a refinement. From the grand strategy of “Make America Great Again,” Trump is developing more fine-tuned policies.

“I think it’s a great example of where you say the things at the moment that make sense and you refine them as time goes on,” he said.

Host Ryan Warner asked Blaha about Trump’s tweets over the weekend that made the entirely unfounded claim that “millions” of people voted illegally and that’s why Clinton won the popular vote by some 2 million votes. Blaha claimed to not be familiar with that tweet storm that dominated social media in the last few days.

“I’m not responsible for all of Trump’s tweets, but some of them are very interesting,” Blaha said.

Blaha also suggested it would be a mistake for Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper to take the state on its own path, in defiance of a Trump administration, whether that’s on immigration or energy policy. Warner had asked if Colorado might end up in an “adversarial” position with the administration.

“When you look at a state that swung by less than three percent, I don’t think there is any kind of mandate for our current sitting governor to say he’s got anything that would stand up and say that what Trump is saying is going to be vigorously opposed by this state. Particularly in the outlying regions. When you look at how the state voted in the outlying regions, it was overwhelmingly supportive Trump. Now, if you look at the Denver metroplex, it’s a different story.”

For the record, the margin here was closer to 5 percent — 48.2 percent for Clinton to 43.3 percent for Trump.

Interestingly, when Hickenlooper was on CPR last week to talk about how he’ll deal with a Trump administration, he said Trump doesn’t have a mandate.

You can listen to the whole thing here.

Erica Meltzer

Author: Erica Meltzer

Erica Meltzer covers government and politics. She's worked for newspapers in Colorado, Arizona and Illinois and once won a First Amendment Award by showing up in the wrong place at the wrong time. She served in the Peace Corps in Paraguay and can swear fluently in Guarani. She gets emotional about public libraries. Contact Erica Meltzer at 303-502-2802, emeltzer@denverite.com or @meltzere.