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The confirmation hearing for nominees to serve on the Tennessee Valley Authority’s board of directors turned awkward on Wednesday, when Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, confronted one of President Biden’s picks for calling her a hideous on social media.
Ernst began by noting that Geer said in a written statement that one of the reasons she thinks she should serve on TVA is her ability to “build relationships and work together.”
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After Geer agreed that she also believes civility is key to working on TVA’s board, Ernst claimed that “seems to be a recent sentiment,” revealing a tweet 2015 in which Geer posted “hideous,” in response to a Fox News tweet featuring an image of Ernst and a quote from her State of the Union response she delivered that year.
When asked if she could explain the tweet, Geer initially said she couldn’t read it, so she asked Ernst to proofread it.
“Well, I apologize if I offended you, and I appreciate you bringing it to my attention,” Geer said then. “And I believe, in fact, that civility is key, and I’m sorry that I didn’t demonstrate that, in your opinion, with this tweet.”
Ernst was unhappy with this response and she returned to the tweet later in the hearing.
“Maybe you had time to refresh your memory a bit,” Ernst said. “I don’t know if you have taken to calling women who disagree with you ‘ugly’, or if that was just an exception, but please allow me to “To be very clear. I stand by everything I said in my State of the Union response in 2015.”
Ernst then reminded everyone listening that the tweet predated former President Donald Trump’s inauguration, implying that Trump could not be faulted for setting an example for the use of Twitter.
“It’s before that. It’s not nice in Iowa, folks. And I’m calling you.”
Ernst discussed how in that speech she spoke out in support of the Keystone pipeline, confronting terrorist groups, and her own experiences as the first female Senate fighter.
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“Miss Geer, when you called me hideous, were you referring to my appearance or to the opinions I held and held by many Americans in this country?”
Geer denied that his tweet had anything to do with the senator’s appearance.
“For clarification, obviously I wasn’t calling you personally hideous, and certainly not your appearance, and again, I apologize if it happened that way, I mean no disrespect,” he said. Geer said.
Ernst was not quick to accept this explanation, explaining that even if Geer was referring to the content of Ernst’s speech, it would be a big deal.
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“Ma’am, I’m going to cut you off right there. How else could it have gone? The word hideous, to me, has only one meaning. And the opinions I expressed in my reply on the state of the union. And the views I expressed in my state of the union response were personal experiences. So maybe you misunderstood that I grew up on a small rural farm in an economically disadvantaged area of Iowa. Maybe you didn’t like that my mom had to put bread bags over my shoes when I went to school. Maybe you didn’t like that , but a lot of Americans have gone through the same experiences as me. And so to call my personal views hideous is an affront to half of America.”
Ernst concluded by stating that “in a world begging for civility, we should give them that civility”, doubting that Geer is capable of doing so and stating that she will vote against Geer, even though she has a record of being “a of the most bipartisan senators from either party in the past 25 years.”