DES MOINES, Iowa – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., joined U.S. Senator Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, for a conference call on Wednesday evening hosted by former Des Moines City Councilwoman Chris Hensley.
Graham, who campaigned for Ernst during her first campaign for U.S. Senate, called in for a Q&A session with her supporters.
Ernst opened up discussing her work on behalf of the military.
“The men and women who have worn our nation’s uniform made the commitment to keep our country safe, and many have paid a pretty stiff price to do so, and so when they do return from service, we have to make the same commitment to them,” she said.
Ernst briefly discussed her time in the military and addressed the suicide epidemic among veterans.
“Some of the most serious wounds our veterans suffer might not even be visible to the average person. Tragically we do lose about 16 veterans to suicide every single day. And one of the most challenging issues that so many of them face is post-traumatic stress disorder. Not all wounds can be seen, and sometimes those invisible wounds take a heck of a lot more to undo,” she stated.
“So that I worked across the aisle and successfully fought to expand mental health services for our veterans. A veteran should not have to wait weeks and weeks to see somebody. And so folks, as a mother and a veteran, I will never stop fighting for our nation’s heroes and the critical care that they truly deserve, especially when it comes to mental health. We, as a grateful nation, must make sure that our veterans have the support they need after they have selflessly sacrificed for us,” Ernst said.
She then introduced Graham, who is also a veteran, having served in the Air Force, South Carolina Air Guard, and Air Force Reserve for 33 years.
“So every time I turn around, she’s involved in something this hard and trying to find a way to get the yes, and has been a conservative’s conservative. I’m the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and that is not a place for the faint-hearted. When it comes to China, Joni has kicked the Chinese Communist Party’s ass at every turn. Every time I turn around, she’s got another bill going after China,” he said about Ernst.
“So to the extent that I can help her stay in the Senate. I am all in because we need more people like her, particularly on the Republican side who have served in the military and will be an inspiration for young women all over the country,” Graham added.
Ernst was asked about Susan Rice potentially joining former Vice President Joe Biden on the Democratic presidential ticket.
“Susan Rice would absolutely be the wrong person, absolutely the wrong person. I think we saw failed leadership from every angle during the Obama administration when it came to foreign policy and how best to protect our troops,” she answered.
Ernst and Graham pointed out how ISIS filled the void left by President Barack Obama pulling troops out of Iraq and how they lost their caliphate under President Trump.
Discussing COVID-19 and returning to school, Graham took a shot at Ernst’s opponent, Theresa Greenfield.
“Theresa Greenfield is the problem, not the solution. She is for Medicare for all, which means Medicare for nobody,” he said.
“She is for the Green New Deal, which means you’re going to have to Hawaii,” Graham joked. “They are going to destroy the entire economy. The amount of money they’re willing to spend on these incredibly insane programs will make us Greece.”
Ernst questioned her position on the Paycheck Protection Program.
“if you watch Theresa Greenfield’s comments, one day when she’s out talking to small business owners, she’ll tell them because they are very supportive of it. She’ll say, ‘Oh, this is a wonderful program. It’s such a great program,’ and then the very next day, she will rip it apart. So I don’t know where she stands on this if she actually does support the Paycheck Protection Program or not, and she has flip-flopped on so many issues, we can’t pin her down. She’s hiding in her basement. You know?” she said.
“Well, while I’m out there talking to folks about these Paycheck Protection Program opportunities when I’m talking to them about supports needed in our rural health care system, when I’m talking about supports necessary for child care so that moms and dads can get back to work, she’s been hiding in her basement taking selfies with her dog Ringo. So, you know, she has not exhibited leadership throughout this entire process,” Ernst added.
Listen to the full conference call: