Tariffs and Trump Top Joni Ernst’s Weekend Campaign Launch

BOONE, Iowa — U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, the Red Oak Republican in her first term, launched her campaign for re-election in 2020 on Saturday and tied her race closely with the re-election of President Trump. Gov. Kim Reynolds, U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley and former UN ambassador Nikki Haley joined Ernst in Boone for the 5th Annual Roast and Ride event. The four hammered home the message of sending Republicans to Washington, but also keeping President Donald Trump in the White House.

On Trump

Ernst praised the commander-in-chief for his past three years in office, specifically citing the economy as his greatest achievement. “Regardless of where you stand on the president, look at the policies, look at our economy. I mean it is growing, it is booming. We have the lowest unemployment in the United States since 1969,” she said. “So that tells you something folks, his policies are working.”

While unemployment remains low, the federal deficit is soaring following the Republican-led tax cuts. 

Not only did the Republicans politicians endorse the president for re-election but they also adopted some of his signature rhetoric.

On Trade 

While Ernst expressed her overall satisfaction with the president's policies, there are some issues they don't see eye-to-eye on. "I've talked to the president and he knows I'm not necessarily a tariff gal, but he will tell me, 'well I'm a tariff guy.' So I may push back on him when I think it's necessary."

The president's trade war, at least short-term, has cost American consumers billions of dollars, according to economists. 

Ernst said she's heard farmers across the state saying they are okay with his trade fight with China. "If we come out with a good deal, I think those farmers, those manufacturers are gonna be grateful that we finally got a trade deal with China that works and that is enforceable," Ernst said.

On 2020

All four politicians cracked jokes about the vast field of Democratic presidential hopefuls, many of whom which shuffled in and out of Iowa this last week campaigning.

"It's a really odd collection of liberals, radicals and socialists," Haley said. "And I know a lot about liberals, radicals and socialists. In case you forgot I used to work at the United Nations."

Reynolds warned for what she thinks Iowans can expect to see if they send a Democrat to the White House and reiterated her support for Ernst's re-election.

So far, Ernst's Democratic challengers include Des Moines businessman Eddie Mauro, Indianola attorney Kimberly Graham, and Windsor Heights businesswoman Theresa Greenfield. Ernst said she is up for the challenge, but has no doubts she will rise to the occasion. "I know this is an important seat that the Democrats would love to have back, but I'm going to make them fight for it and they're going to fail," Ernst said.

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