Don’t be surprised if Gov. Jared Polis has a friendly and productive meeting with President Donald Trump on Wednesday. The men plan to meet at the White House to discuss more testing supplies and personal protective equipment for Colorado, and hopefully a few other key issues.
Polis and Trump were each successful businessmen long before they entered the political realm. They come from a world in which results matter more than doctrinaire political ideology. Businessmen communicate in a manner lifelong politicians typically cannot, which bodes well for this meeting.
In January of 2017, at least 70 Democrats flaunted their decisions to boycott the inauguration of President Donald Trump. They wanted the Trump presidency to begin and end with a line-in-the-sand confrontation. By contrast, Polis and his family hosted an inauguration party in Washington, D.C., and invited Colorado Republicans to celebrate. He wasn’t happy about the election, but he saw no gain in avoiding communication and the potential for progress.
As fellow Democrats bemoaned and protested the president’s visit to Colorado Springs for a rally in February, Polis boarded Air Force 1 at Peterson Air Force Base. He had a cordial meeting with Trump. During the rally, Trump acknowledged Polis for the visit and discouraged the crowd from booing the governor.
The Trump presidency undoubtedly frustrates Polis, as it does most leading Democrats, but the governor does not fight futile battles with political foes. Instead, on his better days, he works with them so both sides might maximize the value of common ground.
To reach across the vast political and cultural divide, Polis attends social functions of people with whom he disagrees. Brought up Jewish, Polis has attended Sunday services with conservative Christian friends and others of diverse values and beliefs. He spoke at the Western Conservative Summit — a large gathering of conservatives organized through the evangelical Colorado Christian College. No previous Democratic governor had attended the conference.
Trump and Polis understand how free-market capitalism funds social programs and all other government expenses. Watching a near billion-dollar state surplus become a multi-billion-dollar coronavirus deficit, Polis emerged among a handful of governors trying to expedite reopening the economy.
Like Trump, Polis understands the social and economic value of deregulation. Polis reduced regulation of professional licensing to authorize out-of-state health professionals to practice in Colorado. He told Democratic lawmakers to send him no more bills that impose costly regulations on insurance companies. He asked the conservative Independence Institute for a list of market regulations that could help the state survive COVID-19. Polis reclassified houses of worship as critical, allowing them to open in March with social distancing as other governors continue aggressive efforts to interfere in the free exercise of religion.
The Committee to Unleash Prosperity, a group of conservative economists, gives Polis an “A” for his efforts to salvage and reopen the economy.
We urge President Trump and Gov. Polis to set aside politics Wednesday, see each other as individuals, and brainstorm ideas that will help Colorado and the rest of the country through this economic and health crisis. Results are what matter.
In addition to conventional coronavirus aid, Gov. Polis should discuss Space Command — the topic that led him to board Air Force 1 just three months ago.
Because of the coronavirus, and other factors, our country’s relationship with China has become increasingly unstable. As we contend with the pandemic, our country grows more vulnerable to attack.
China, an economic and military superpower — and the world’s most populous country — is racing to militarize space. So are India and a few other countries. If we do not lead in space capability, the consequences could be catastrophic.
Space Command and the Space Force it leads are functioning and building in Colorado Springs. We cannot risk a disruptive, destabilizing move that would only be made for political reasons. For the sake of national defense, Trump should announce Colorado Springs as the permanent home of these critical operations.
Trump and Polis disagree on much. They also have common goals for our country. Each man thinks independently and boldly. Neither minds breaking the mold, or challenging his party. On Wednesday, they have a chance to improve our country by building on common ground for the good of those they serve.