Senator Joni Ernst.

Senator Joni Ernst.

Iowa Senator Joni Ernst, A Republican from Red Oak, says stopping terrorist attacks like the one in California requires the Obama administration to come up with a comprehensive plan.

“We have to address the root of this problem, why we have the refugees and why we have expanding terrorism with ISIS,” Ernst says. “And we have an administration that refuses to address this issue of terrorism and the spread of terrorism in the Middle East.”

Ernst says the plan has to have one goal.”We need to have a strategy that will completely, completely defeat ISIS. Not contain them, not degrade them, but defeat them,” Ernst says.

She see several issues that need to be in the strategy. “Enhancing intelligence capabilities, that would be part of that, both here at home and abroad. Making sure that we do have a secure border, that would be very important, so again protecting Americans. “But then Congress needs to be engaged as well, we can’t completely rely in the administration. We need in Congress to debate the use of force in Syria We need to do that through an authorization of the use of military forces.”

Ernst says she does not support Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s proposal to block Muslims from coming into the country. She says America has great relationships with Muslims and cites the work of U.S. troops as an example. “In Kosovo you will probably see as many American flags flying as you will Kosovo national flags. They adore the United States of America. These are great partners for us,” according to Ernst. “So, I do not support or subscribe to the comments that were made about banning all Muslims, I don’t agree.”

She says you can’t make blanket statements like that about one group of people. “Especially when it comes to religion, so I think we need to focus on what the real problem is,” Ernst says. Ernst was asked if she should be sending a stronger message about Trump’s statement by endorsing one of the other Republican candidates for the Iowa Caucuses. She says she will keep with her pledge to not endorse a candidate, and says the number of people who have spoken out against Trump’s statements in the party in Iowa and across the country is pretty telling in itself.

Ernst has this advice for Iowans on the candidates.”What I encourage our constituents to do is really dig into policies. And we can’t just grab onto something that sounds very provocative out in the media — which is exactly what’s happening right now. We have to dig into policy and really understand how is it that we defeat terrorism? How is it that we keep Americans safe?,” Ernst says.

Ernst made her comments during her weekly conference call with reporters.