- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 20, 2020

President Trump on Thursday night raised the possibility of locating the headquarters of the new Space Force in Colorado during a campaign rally with voters in Colorado Springs.

Speaking to a packed arena near the home of the U.S. Air Force Academy, Mr. Trump told supporters that he received a visit on Air Force One from Gov. Jared Polis as the plane was parked on the tarmac.

“Your governor showed up at the plane today. Your governor, Democrat,” Mr. Trump said. “He wanted to lobby to see if they could get it. We’ll be making that decision towards the end of the year.”

The president added, “I know you want it.”

Then he turned to Republican Sen. Cory Gardner, who’s considered vulnerable in his bid for reelection, and advised, “We’re going to make that decision, Cory, when we make that decision.”

The Air Force said in December it was considering four Colorado bases — Buckley Air Force Base, Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station, Peterson Air Force Base and Schriever Air Force Base — as well as the Army’s Redstone Arsenal in Alabama and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California as potential locations for the command of the newest branch of the military. It was not a final list; Florida also apparently is under consideration.

The president also used the rally to give several plugs for Mr. Gardner, saying the senator never wavered in his support for Mr. Trump during the impeachment trial.

“We are going to win Colorado in a landslide,” the president said. “And you’re going to help us get Cory Gardner across that line, because he’s been with us 100%.”

Mr. Gardner told the crowd, “We’re going to win because we believe in America.” He warned against “the normalization of socialism by [Sen.] Bernie Sanders,” the leading Democratic candidate.

He thanked Mr. Trump for moving the headquarters of the Bureau of Land Management to Colorado.

The president ridiculed Washington Democrats for “doing all sorts of vile hoaxes.”

“We went through the impeachment scam. Cory was with us all the way,” Mr. Trump said. “While the extreme left has been wasting America’s time with vile hoaxes, we’ve been killing terrorists, creating jobs, raising wages and fair trade [and] securing our border. As we keep winning, Washington Democrats keep losing their minds. That’s why millions of registered Democrats … they’re leaving their party and they’re joining our great Republican Party.”

Earlier, at an event in Las Vegas, Mr. Trump told former prison inmates graduating in a program to reenter society that they are “made by God for a great and noble purpose.”

At a ceremony at the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, the president handed out diplomas to each of the 29 former offenders, who were wearing caps and gowns to signify their passage through the nonprofit program Hope for Prisoners.

“We are here to reaffirm that America is a nation that believes in redemption,” Mr. Trump told them. “We believe in second chances. You have paid your debt to society and showed your commitment to change. Your future does not have to be defined by the mistakes of the past.”

The ceremony also was attended by 25 law-enforcement officials in uniform, and family members of the graduates. In its 11th year, Hope for Prisoners has graduated more than 3,100 former prisoners to prepare them to reenter society.

Mr. Trump, who has made criminal justice reform a pillar of his agenda, said he campaigned on a pledge “to fight for those who have been forgotten, neglected, overlooked, and ignored by politicians in our nation’s capital.”

The program was founded by Jon Ponder, a former offender himself, who met with the president in 2018 as Mr. Trump signed the First Step Act, an initiative to offer more services and training for former inmates reentering the workplace.

“I have not seen another sitting president move with this much compassion when it comes to the people in the reentry community,” Mr. Ponder said.

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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