Senator Joni Ernst.

Senator Joni Ernst.

A reporter this morning asked Republican Senator Joni Ernst whether she is concerned about statements Donald Trump has made about women. Jennifer Jacobs of The Des Moines Register raised the issue during a telephone conference call.

“Some Republican women in Iowa are starting to call him out on this,” Jacobs said. “I’m wondered if you had noticed Donald Trump’s attitude towards women and if it’s concerning or not concerning.”

Ernst began by mentioning how Trump “seems to surging” in the polls. “I am certainly not a spokesperson for donald Trump, but I can say when I am out on the political trail and when I was campaigning, I always tried to have respect for everyone that I was dealing with,” Ernst said.

During the first presidential candidate debate on Fox News, Trump was questioned about comments he’s made in the past about women. This week, in a Rolling Stone story, Trump was quoted as saying voters would not vote for Carly Fiorina because of “that face.” Trump today said he was talking about Fiorina’s “persona” and not her looks. Ernst did not specifically target Trump with her assessment of rhetorical tone of the 2016 presidential race, but she suggests there’s a lack of civility on the campaign trail these days.

“I would like to think that our presidential candidates would at least respect other people, whether they are male or female,” Ernst said. “I think that is lacking in some of these statements that have come out of several presidential candidates.”

Four of the Republican senators Ernst now serves with are running for president and Ernst told reporters she does not want to focus on any single candidate in the Republican field.

“But we have got to show respect,” Ernst said. “If there is not a certain level of respect, how do we know that people are going to come to the table and work together? And so, bottom line, we have got to be the adults in the room and move forward again, showing a great level of respect for others that are engaging in the same process.”

Ernst, a former state senator who is a member of the Iowa National Guard, has said she will not endorse a candidate before Iowa’s Caucuses.