Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst was denied her prime-time speaking slot Monday night, upsetting her state's delegates, according to The Wall Street Journal
Retired Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn spoke far longer than he was supposed to, keeping Ernst off the stage until nearly the entire convention hall had emptied.
While the former Army officer continued his seemingly never-ending speech, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad paced back and forth among his delegation. Former state GOP Chairman Matt Strawn called it "brutal," and U.S. Rep. Steve King said the organizers of the convention should have cut Flynn short and ended the night at 11 p.m., giving Ernst a chance to speak another night.
"Believe me, the whole Iowa delegation was sitting there looking at our watches," Jeff Kaufmann, Iowa's current GOP chairman, said Tuesday at an Iowa Republicans lunch. "The governor was pacing up and down the aisle. He was like a guy whose wife is about to give birth and he's outside the delivery room waiting for the baby."
Ernst is a rising star in the GOP. Last year she was selected to give the Republican response
to President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech, an honor for a freshman senator.
"I was happy the Iowa delegation stayed the entire time, and they stood the whole time and they were all there, they were supporting me. So I was thrilled," Ernst told Politico
just before attending a lunch with the Iowa delegation on Tuesday. "I got a number of folks that messaged me and said, 'CNN covered the whole thing.' So they watched it and I got lots of great feedback."
Ernst's speech included a controversial claim about terrorism in the U.S., referring to the presence of Islamic State radicals in the country.
"They represent a threat that is not limited to the Middle East, and which is spreading rapidly," Ernst said. "In fact, according to the FBI, ISIS is present in all 50 states. Think about it for a moment. Terrorists from ISIS are in every one of our 50 states. They will use whatever weapons they have: guns, trucks, knives, poisons and bombs to kill innocent people."
Ernst was possibly referring to a statement by FBI Director James Comey, who said the agency was investigating "people in various stages of radicalizing in all 50 states," according to International Business Times
Iowans didn't blame Trump for Ernst's delayed appearance, but they had no problem singling out Flynn, saying he could face serious difficulty if he ever campaigned in Iowa's presidential caucuses. Flynn was reportedly on Trump's short list of potential vice presidential nominees.
"Obviously I was upset that Joni didn't get to speak in prime time," Branstad told the Journal. "I thought the person who was before her went on way too long and repeated himself and didn't have to do that."
Ernst kept from showing any frustration. When a delegate expressed sympathy for the senator's snub, she joked, "you should have charged the stage."
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