U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) held two public town hall meetings on Friday. The first was in Cedar Rapids, and the second was held on the campus of Drake University in Des Moines, IA. Sheslow Auditorium where the event was held was filled to capacity (approximately 800 people) with people unable to get in still outside when the event started.
A group called the Indivisible Network, an all volunteer group, helped organize liberals on social media to attend the event. It was evident that most of the people in attendance were not supporters of Ernst or President Trump.
The pictures below represent just a few of the signs Ernst saw throughout the event. Also some in attendance were given green “Agree” signs and red “Disagree” signs that they would hold up throughout the event – generally holding up the “agree” signs during questions and the “disagree” signs throughout the Ernst’s answers.
Three of the first five questions was related to Planned Parenthood. The other two were about Congressman Steve King’s recent comments (we had him on Caffeinated Thoughts Radio to discuss). Ernst was booed continually throughout the event. When she said she would not support Planned Parenthood (the questions were generally framed to goad her into accepting a liberal point of view) she received this reaction.
Ernst was asked multiple questions about whether or not she supported the American Health Care Act that was introduced in the House. She said to the group, and reiterated with the press later, that she was undecided and the bill in the House was not what the Senate would likely be voting on.
She was asked if she believed in man-made climate change, and was booed when she said the climate has been changing for thousands of years.
She was chastised for voting to confirm U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. There was a standing ovation when the questioner said DeVos was unqualified because she never set foot inside a public school until after she was confirmed as Secretary. There was a former teacher from California who thought education in Iowa was awful. The crowd turned on her when she said no teacher in Iowa compares to her.
Ernst was also asked about immigration, and was booed because she didn’t support citizenship for illegal immigrants even though she expressed support for legal status. When she didn’t give “yes and no” answers to some questions she was shouted down with “answer the question” and was shouted down on occasion when she answered in a way the liberal audience did not like.
Ernst took questions for an hour and heard from only liberals in the audience. There were conservatives present, but they few in number which is obviously not an accurate cross section of the electorate.
Afterwards during the press avail Ernst was asked her thoughts about the reaction she got, and she said they just wanted to come listen to the concerns they knew existed.
Below are videos of the entire town hall meeting and the press avail that was held afterwards.