Republican Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) is facing an avalanche of criticism at home for not standing up to President Donald Trump which may hurt her when she runs for re-election in 2020.
As reported by Politico, the staunch conservative Ernst is being battered with questions at town halls but they aren’t questions about policies:
“One after one, constituents took to the microphone to grill the first-term Republican senator about the president — his attacks on John McCain, his emergency declaration at the border and why, in the opinion of several voters, Ernst hasn’t stood up to him more often.”
“Other senators are speaking up criticizing Trump and defending McCain, but I have yet to hear one word from you,” the report states one voter pressed her. “Is there no line Trump can cross that would cause you to break ranks with him?”
According to the report, Ernst has sidestepped the questions by saying she has disagreed with Trump, but that hasn’t allowed her to get on with talking about the issues she wants to address in a state where his low poll numbers are dragging her down too.
“Her reelection in the conservative-leaning state, which Trump carried easily in 2016, is not a foregone conclusion,” the report states. “Democrats flipped two GOP-held seats in Iowa last year, and Trump’s approval ratings have sunk as his trade wars have stretched on. Barack Obama won the state twice and Ernst’s predecessor, Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin, represented the state for three decades.”
“She has her work cut out for her. Iowa is not “a ruby-red state,” said Texas Sen. John Cornyn (R).
Former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, a Democrat, has been attacking Ernst for being too close to Trump, saying, “She has essentially been an enabler of many of the Trump policies that aren’t particularly good for Iowa,” in a recent interview.
Democrat Rob Sand, who is considered a frontrunner to take her on in 2020, has also ramped up his attacks.
“She sold herself as this Harley-wearing, gun-shooting, pig-castrating person who really would stand up and be tough and she hasn’t been tough,” he said before adding, “She’s just taking orders from Mitch McConnell.”
Also dogging Ernst is Trump’s trade war that has devastated Iowa’s farmer.
“Trump’s trade war with China is a huge issue in Iowa. The tariffs have slammed the state’s soybean industry, a big part of Iowa’s economy. Iowa State University last year projected the tariffs could cost the state’s farmers up to $2.2 billion in revenue,” Politico reports.
You can read the entire report here.