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Sen. Joni Ernst slams Biden TVA pick Beth Greer over tweet

Sen Joni Ernst slams Biden TVA pick Beth Greer over


An intemperate tweet from seven years ago came back to haunt one of President Biden’s nominees Wednesday when the subject of the snark — Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) — raised the post during the woman’s confirmation hearing.

In 2015, Beth Prichard Geer responded to a tweet posted by Fox News asking social media users what they thought of Ernst’s response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address. 

“Hideous,” Geer tweeted, tagging both Fox News and the Iowa senator. 

On Wednesday, Ernst and Geer — now a nominee to the Tennessee Valley Authority’s board of directors — came face to face during a hearing of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

“You believe one reason you should be confirmed to serve in the TVA, the Tennessee Valley, is because of your ability to quote, ‘build relationships and work together,’ end quote. Is that correct?” Ernst asked Geer. 

“Yes, that is correct,” Geer responded. 

In 2015, Beth Prichard Geer responded to a tweet posted by Fox News asking social media users what they thought of Ernst’s response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address.

“And you believe civility is a fundamental aspect of your role in the Tennessee Valley Board?” Ernst clarified. 

“Absolutely,” Geer said. 

Ernst then raised Geer’s 2015 tweet, asking the nominee to explain herself. 

Beth Prichard Greer called Sen Joni Greer's response to the State of the Union “Hideous.”
Beth Prichard Greer called Sen. Joni Greer’s response to the State of the Union “Hideous.”

Geer requested Ernst read the message out loud, saying she was unable to read it. After Ernst obliged, Geer apologized for the post. 

“Well, I apologize if I offended you, and I appreciate you bringing it to my attention,” she said. “And I do, in fact, believe that civility is key, and I’m sorry that I did not demonstrate that, in your opinion, with that tweet.”

Later in the hearing, Ernst came back to the tweet, telling Geer, “I’m not sure if you’ve made a habit of calling women that disagree with you hideous or if it was simply an exception.” 

A tweet from one of President Biden’s nominees to serve on the board of the Tennessee Valley Authority came back to bite her on Wednesday after Sen. Joni Ernst confronted the nominee over the post.
A tweet from one of President Biden’s nominees to serve on the board of the Tennessee Valley Authority came back to bite her on Wednesday after Sen. Joni Ernst confronted the nominee over the post.

“But please, let me be very clear,” the Iowa Republican continued. “I stand by everything that I said in my State of the Union response back in 2015. Folks, this tweet is from 2015. I heard a lot about tweets in the former administration, this is prior to that. This is not Iowa nice, folks, and I’m calling you out.”

Ernst then pressed Geer over whether the post was in reference to her appearance or her political views. 

“Obviously, I was not calling you personally hideous and certainly not your appearance,” Geer said. “And again, I apologize if it came across that way. I mean no disrespect.” 

Sen. Joni Ernest said that she still stood by her 2015 statement regarding the State of the Union.
Sen. Joni Ernest said she still stood by her 2015 statement regarding the State of the Union.
REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz

Ernst then interrupted Geer, saying: “How else could this come across? The word hideous to me, it only has one meaning.” 

“Maybe you didn’t appreciate that I grew up on a small rural farm in an economically disadvantaged area of Iowa. Maybe you didn’t like that my mother had to put bread bags on my shoes when I went to school,” Ernst added. “Maybe you didn’t like that, but a lot of Americans have had the same experiences that I have had. And so, to call my personal views as hideous, is affront to half of America.”

“I think it’s important that we all work together, but when you’re starting off on a foot like this, it’s really hard for us to all work together,” the senator concluded, after saying she would vote against Geer’s nomination.

Sen. Joni Ernst then pressed Geer over whether the post was in reference to her appearance or her political views.
Sen. Joni Ernst then pressed Geer over whether the post was in reference to her appearance or her political views.

Biden nominated Geer to sit on the TVA board in April 2021 to replace current member Kenneth Allen, whose term has expired. Robert Klein, Kimberly Lewis and Michelle Moore have also been nominated to sit on the board. 

Currently, Geer serves as the chief of staff for former Vice President Al Gore.





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