Joni Ernst

Faculty Emerita Sue Ravenscroft writes about Sen. Joni Ernst's reaction to the attack in Benghazi in 2012 versus her reaction to the attack on the Capitol in 2021. 

In 2014, Joni Ernst campaigned with a CIA contractor who was in Benghazi, Libya, when the U.S. Consulate suffered a surprise attack Sept. 11, 2012. Ernst claimed the Benghazi attack proved then-Secretary of State Hilary Clinton had failed to lead and “acted irresponsibly.” The Republicans were so interested in investigating that they formed five different House committees, a Senate committee and a House select committee formed by then-House Speaker John Boehner, even though the State Department had its own Review Board, whose recommendations Clinton accepted. The House investigations were some of the longest in our history, and the overall conclusion was that while the loss of four American lives was tragic, no wrongdoing could be ascribed to Clinton.

Why so many investigations?  During the 2016 campaign, then-Majority Leader and Republican Kevin McCarthy told Fox News that Clinton’s poll numbers had been very strong, “but we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping” — further evidence of the political nature of the many extended investigations. The last committee on Benghazi closed a month after the 2016 election but more than four years after the attack.

So, should we assume Joni Ernst would want to look carefully into former President Donald Trump’s leadership during the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol, an attack that threatened the safety of members of Congress and our vice president, that resulted in the deaths of five Americans, serious injury to many Capitol police officers and threatened the integrity of the electoral process?  No, not at all. On May 19, she told reporters, “Here we are, five months later. What is the point? It’s turning into a political exercise.”

To paraphrase an old song, Joni, we hardly know ye…

Sue Ravenscroft is a faculty emerita.

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(2) comments

Seymour Trout

Only one person was killed in the Jan 6 riots, a protester who was shot by Capitol police. The rest died of natural causes unrelated to the riots. As a former faculty member, you should be ashamed of spreading such disinformation as if you were a radical sophomore.

Nuke Em

So your metrics on how disastrous 1/6 was for our reputation as a democratic society is how many people were killed (as opposed to how many "died of natural causes")? Also, what disinformation does the author state?

Here are the facts: There was a riot at the Capitol. Elected leaders were threatened with bodily harm & death by those who believed an overwhelmingly disproven gripe about election integrity (see 60+ cases struck down due to lack of evidence). Scores of police were seriously injured; one died.

The real question: Why is the GOP (Ernst included) so afraid of seeking answers about the insurrection and DJT's connection to it (e.g. spreading disinformation about election integrity)? The answer is that GOP legislators' political power is more important to them (and their big donors) than the well-being of the country.

I ask this: What would have happened if there was mass congressional dissent into investigating what lead to the 9/11 attacks? Wouldn't we have thought something was terribly wrong with the legislators? that they weren't doing the job they were elected to do?

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