Dem Super PAC Attacks Domestic Violence Victim Joni Ernst Over Violence Against Women Act

Sen. Joni Ernst / Getty Images
November 21, 2019

A Democratic Super PAC attacked Sen. Joni Ernst (R., Iowa) for her failure to support victims of domestic violence without acknowledging that Ernst herself is a victim of domestic violence.

The Twitter account for Senate Majority PAC, a Chuck Schumer-aligned group fighting to regain control of the Senate, sent out a tweet accusing Ernst of "sending a message that she's not serving the needs of domestic violence victims and those in the most vulnerable communities."

"Iowans and victims of domestic violence deserve better than Senator Ernst," the tweet said.

In a Bloomberg interview earlier this year, Ernst said she experienced domestic violence at the hands of a former husband. She also said that a former boyfriend raped her when she was in college. The freshman senator spoke out after media outlets reported on divorce filings from her former husband. Ernst, the highest ranking woman in Republican Senate leadership and an Iowa National Guard veteran, received bipartisan support after the interview published.

The tweet came after Ernst blocked a vote on a bill reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act. She called the bill a "non-starter" in the Senate. "It won’t pass the Senate.  It won’t get the president’s signature. And, most importantly, it won’t actually help the survivors that need it," she said on the Senate floor.

Republican senators opposed a provision in the reauthorization bill that would have eliminated the "boyfriend loophole," according to the Hill. This proposal would extend a ban on gun purchases for spouses or ex-spouses who have been convicted of abuse or have had a restraining order filed against them to include partners who were never married.

Ernst has introduced her own reauthorization of the act, which she said Sen. Schumer (D., N.Y.) is blocking for political reasons.

Schumer on Wednesday accused Ernst, whose bill does not eliminate the "boyfriend loophole," of being afraid of the NRA.

"I’m not afraid of anyone, folks. I have been through the worst of the worst, and I am here today," Ernst said on a conference call with Iowa reporters. "I do not need to be mansplained by Chuck Schumer. I am a survivor."