Gage Skidmore / Flickr Joni Ernst...
Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Republican senators Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley have been back home in Iowa to hold small town halls in rural areas, places they probably thought would be ‘safe spaces’ from angry voters. WRONG. The rural voters who turned out were not happy with Donald Trump and they unloaded on Ernst and Grassley. In one particularly embarrassing moment for Sen. Ernst in Red Oak, Iowa (population 5,476), she drew laughter and scorn after this exchange:

SEN. ERNST: “He is standing up for a lot of the countries, um… where we have seen…”

CONSTITUENT: “Name a few, could you name a few?”

SEN. ERNST: “Yeah, you bet. Norway…”

Cue the guffaws and laughter. Watch the local report on the town hall and see Iowa voters asking Ernst over and over again to stand up to Trump, and then jump below to see how Sen. Grassley’s town hall went (hint: not good!)

Meanwhile, Sen. Chuck Grassley went to Logan, Iowa (population 1,454), and he did not fare any better. From the start, Grassley’s rural constituents hammered him over his support for Donald Trump. From the Des Moines Register, which called the questions to Grassley about Donald Trump’s fitness for office, “unrelenting”:

Amid a smattering of questions about trucking regulations, homeopathic medicine and pension security, a steady stream of attendees pressed Grassley to defend his handling of the ongoing Russia investigation and to offer his views on Trump’s conduct on the job.

“Are you not personally concerned about his fitness to serve? If not, why not? Because I’m very concerned,” Mary Mikels, a retired 67-year-old from nearby Portsmouth, asked Grassley.

Grassley deflected that question, saying he wasn’t qualified to make a psychiatric assessment, but Mikels persisted.

“He gets on Twitter and says the last thing that Fox News told him to say,” she said. “That’s not presidential. It’s concerning. Are you personally concerned?”

“I have a job to do,” Grassley replied. “I’m not president of the United States. I’m a check on the president of the United States. That’s my constitutional responsibility. I’m going to do what I can under our constitution to make sure that nothing bad happens to our country.”

Here was one particularly contentious exchange (in Iowa terms) when a voter asked Grassley if he felt he was being held “hostage” by Trump. The man then noted that Grassley gave himself the biggest tax cut in history, and wanted to get Grassley on the record as saying that he would NOT touch Social Security and Medicare. Grassley refused.

Let’s be clear: even in rural spaces they consider to be friendly to conservatives, Republicans are getting hammered at the few town halls they are bothering to hold. Visit the Town Hall Project to find a town hall near you and then find a candidate you can support by volunteering and/or donating. With your help, there is a blue wave on the horizon in November. 

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