Now she tells us: Ernst finds "garbage" tweets disqualifying

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst has voted against seven of President Joe Biden’s nominees so far: Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, United Nations Representative Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona.

This week the junior Iowa senator announced her opposition to another Biden pick: Colin Kahl for undersecretary of defense for policy. Kahl’s more than qualified for the position. The sticking point for Ernst and many of her Republican colleagues was a surprising one for anyone familiar with former President Donald Trump’s social media presence.

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Four questions Iowa reporters should ask Terry Branstad

Former Governor Terry Branstad is back in Iowa, having resigned as U.S. ambassador to China in order to campaign for President Donald Trump, Senator Joni Ernst, and other Republicans on the ballot. He’s defending Trump’s trade policy toward China, despite the impact on Iowa farmers. Speaking with reporters on October 10, Branstad “discounted polls showing President Trump and Joe Biden tied in Iowa.”

It’s a waste of time to ask any politician about polls, and Branstad has already spoken to the media at length about U.S. foreign policy toward China. Here are four more salient matters Iowa reporters could raise with the former governor.

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Admiral Mike Franken: A candidate for an extraordinary time

Susan Nelson explains why Admiral Mike Franken is the candidate who can beat U.S. Senator Joni Ernst, and why progressives should be happy about that. -promoted by Laura Belin

Joni Ernst has got to go.

I am usually focused on issues in a primary, but in this race, I just want to pick a winner. A Republican-controlled Senate is an existential threat to preserving health care and doing something about climate change, and conservative Supreme Court nominees will be stopping progressive legislation for decades to come. Ernst is coming for your Social Security benefits, your health care, and so much more. She has glued herself to President Donald Trump. For all those reasons and more, this is a high-stakes election.

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What Chuck Grassley didn't want Donald Trump to hear about his acquittal vote

As anyone could have predicted, Iowa’s Republican U.S. senators voted this week to acquit President Donald Trump on charges that he had abused his power and obstructed Congress. Bleeding Heartland covered Senator Joni Ernst’s explanation for her votes here. Senator Chuck Grassley laid out his reasoning in a fifteen-minute floor speech and news release on February 3. Two days later, he submitted a longer rebuttal of the impeachment charges for the Senate Record.

Grassley’s February 5 statement mostly covered the same ground in greater detail, with one exception: it included a mild rebuke of Trump. Iowa’s senior senator avoided expressing those sentiments on camera.

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What Joni Ernst said (and didn't say) about acquitting Donald Trump

President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial ended on February 5 with U.S. Senate votes to acquit on both counts: 52-48 for “not guilty” on abuse of power and 53-47 for “not guilty” on obstruction of Congress. Republican Senator Mitt Romney joined the 47 members of the Democratic caucus to convict on the abuse of power charge; the other vote fell along straight party lines.

Public comments from Iowa’s Senators Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley over the past several months indicated that neither would seriously consider convicting Trump under any circumstances. Both opted not to subpoena documents the White House refused to provide during the House investigation, and voted not to hear any testimony from witnesses the president sought to keep quiet. So yesterday’s votes were no surprise.

Nevertheless, it’s worth taking a closer look at Ernst’s public explanation for her vote. A separate Bleeding Heartland post will cover Grassley’s justification for voting to acquit.

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