Trump leaves Biden an odd "welcome mat"

Herb Strentz reflects on the transfer of power and the reaction from leading Iowa Republican politicians. -promoted by Laura Belin

While President Donald Trump engaged in no traditional “welcome” protocols to greet his successor at the White House, he left something even more important for President Joe Biden and for the sake of the nation. What Trump left us is a bestowal of relief, of trust, of hope and of opportunity that could serve us all well for years to come.

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Ernst's words don't match actions on COVID-19 relief for fossil fuels industry

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst told members of the Iowa Farmers Union in June that she’d prefer for fossil fuel companies not to be eligible for COVID-19 relief funds.

However, months earlier she was among only two farm state senators to sign a letter aimed at ensuring that oil, gas, and coal companies would have access to federal funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

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Donald Trump's oil pandemic

Dan Piller: Senator Joni Ernst and her Republican handlers don’t need to be told what low corn prices do to incumbents in Iowa in election year. -promoted by Laura Belin

President Donald Trump plans to collude with Russian President Vladimir Putin again this year. We don’t need Robert Mueller or another Steele dossier to tell us–Trump told us so last week. He also is working with OPEC.

It all has to do with oil. At stake: Texas’ 38 electoral votes, Iowa’s ethanol industry, any hope of better corn prices, continued low gasoline prices, and U.S. Senator Joni Ernst’s re-election.

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Played for suckers on ethanol, top Iowa Republicans still covering for Trump

Governor Kim Reynolds and U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst praised President Donald Trump in October, when the administration gave assurances corn growers and the ethanol industry would get what they wanted from the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2020 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) guidelines. The governor and senators were among Midwest Republicans who had lobbied Trump on the issue in September.

When the final rule released this week didn’t match the promises, biofuels advocates slammed Trump for not keeping his word to farmers. But top Iowa Republicans let the president off the hook by shifting the blame to the EPA.

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IA-Sen: Warning signs for Joni Ernst

Iowans haven’t voted out a sitting U.S. senator since 1984, but several recent events have caused political observers to question Senator Joni Ernst’s strengths going into her first re-election bid.

Inside Elections changed its rating on Iowa’s 2020 U.S. Senate race from “likely Republican” to “lean Republican” this month. (Sabato’s Crystal Ball already rated the IA-Sen race “lean R,” while the Cook Political Report still sees a GOP hold likely.) Writing at the National Journal on October 20, Josh Kraushaar cited several “major red flags suggesting Iowa is a much bigger battleground than Republicans anticipated at the beginning of the year.”

Ernst told supporters at a closed-door fundraiser with Vice President Mike Pence this month that she is the fifth most-vulnerable senator, according to Jennifer Jacobs of Bloomberg News.

What’s going on?

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