Don't be lead astray by Colorado U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet's absence from a procedural vote Wednesday on Gen. John Hyten, the nominee for vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The Democratic senator from Colorado was on board with voting on President Trump's controversial pick for the high military office, his office told Colorado Politics via email Thursday morning. even though he wasn't there to cast that vote on Wednesday.
Bennet voted on other bills Wednesday, but he was attending a memorial when the Hyten vote came up, said his spokeswoman, Courtney Gidner.
"Had Michael been present, he would have voted in favor of the procedural motion," she said in the email.
Hyten was confirmed by a 75-22 vote Thursday morning, with Bennet voting in favor, though nine from nine women Democratic senators, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y and Republican Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa in the opposition.
Hyten’s nomination was announced in April, but it has been complicated by allegations of his handling of sexual harassment and assault allegations of a former aide. Hyten has publicly denied wrongdoing.
Wednesday's motion on cloture — meaning to end debate and proceed next to a vote— passed 73-21, with six members who didn't vote, including Bennet.
He was joined in his absenteeism by other Democratic candidates for president: Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Kamala Harris of California and Cory Booker of New Jersey.
Colorado's Sen. Cory Gardner, a Republican, voted in favor of the motion Wednesday and the confirmation Thursday.
Bennet's missed votes somewhat mute the Democratic criticism of Gardner, who they allege is not holding public town halls to escape criticism. Bennet has not held an announced town hall in Colorado in a year, and he missed the opening of his presidential headquarters in Lakewood two weeks ago.
His campaign office has declined to answer questions about the last time he spoke publicly in Colorado.
A report during the August recess by the analytics company Quorum showed that Bennet had missed 27% of the Senate votes this year, not as many as the number missed by other Democratic presidential candidates.
Gardner, who is one of the most endangered Republicans up for re-election this year, has been one of the most active senators this year, with 50% bipartisan sponsorship, the analysis indicated.