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Joni Ernst apologizes for husband's Facebook posts

Joni Ernst, candidate for U.S. Senate in Iowa, was forced to apologize after her husband's Facebook posts calling Hillary Clinton a 'hag' surfaced this week.
By Gabrielle Levy   |   June 11, 2014 at 4:41 PM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, June 11 (UPI) -- A week after easily winning the Iowa Republican primary for the U.S. Senate, Joni Ernst has found herself defending her husband's "inappropriate" Facebook posts.

Democratic operatives in Iowa found posts on Gail Ernst's Facebook page, which was public and mostly used to promote his wife's campaign, that they accused of being sexist.

The posts, from 2013, were revealed Monday and deleted Tuesday.

"I'm appalled by my husband's remarks," Joni Ernst said in a statement. "They are uncalled for and clearly inappropriate. I've addressed this issue with my husband and that's between us."

Gail Ernst posted several comments calling former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton a "hag" and a "lying hag," and made similar remarks about former Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napoitano.

On Jan. 24, 2013, he posted a meme knocking Clinton's comments on the attack in Benghazi, Libya, and wrote "Lying hag!" above the picture.

And on May 1, 2013, posted on a similar image (above), he wrote "Truly more of a hag now than when she was 1st Lady!"

On April 19, 2013 he shared a photo of Janet Napolitano, and wrote "And am I suppose (sic) to give up my guns? As if! Traitorous skank!"

The photo he shared had the caption: "There is a nation-wide shortage of ammo because DHS has emptied the shelves, but when asked why her department is hording so much, her answer amounted to... I take the 5th."

And on March 13, 2013 he shared a post, considered sexist by many, that has circulated on several pages: "What do you do if you see your ex running around in your front yard screaming and bloody? Stay calm. Reload. And try again."

"I would like to apologize for the inappropriate comments I have made on Facebook, which I deeply regret," Gail Ernst said in a statement to the Des Moines Register. "It is not the respect that women deserve or the example I want to set for my daughters."

But Joni Ernst has tried to flip the sexist criticism coming from her opponent, Democrat Bruce Braley, who damaged his campaign when he was caught on tape calling Sen. Chuck Grassley a "farmer from Iowa who never went to law school."

Ernst has hit Braley's campaign over a TV advertisement, released Thursday, that features a baby chicken. Ernst's campaign says the ad is calling her a "chick" in a way that's meant to be derogatory.

"First Bruce Braley insults Senator Grassley and every single Iowa farmer," said Ernst spokesperson Gretchen Hamel. "Now he degrades and insults Iowa women by comparing Joni Ernst to a 'chick.'"

Follow @gabbilevy and @UPI on Twitter.
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