Iowa’s two Republican U.S. Senators celebrated the appointment of a conservative to the U.S. Supreme Court with about a thousand evangelical Christians at today’s “Family Leadership Summit” in Des Moines.

Senator Chuck Grassley said he was “subjected” to daily “blunt personal smear attack” last year because he refused to hold a hearing for President Obama’s choice to fill the court vacancy.

“The 2016 election confirmed that the courage of one’s conviction withstands the test of leadership and it doesn’t hurt to have a thick skin,” Grassley said, to applause. “It comes in handy when the Iowa newspapers editorialize you that when you hold up a nomination the way the Democrats held it up several times that you are unAmerican.”

Senator Joni Ernst said President Trump and Vice President Pence are standing firm on efforts to “defund” Planned Parenthood and are rolling back “burdensome rules” enacted by the Obama Administration.

“All we seem to hear about in the media is adversity — adversity in Washington, D.C.,” Ernst said. “Yet the reality is we have confirmed a new supreme court justice who is in the mold of Antonin Scalia and thank you Senator Grassley for leading that charge.”

AUDIO of Grassley and Ernst speeches at Family Leadership Summit

Ernst and Grassley were both greeted with standing ovations from the crowd. The day-long Family Leadership Summit got underway shortly after 9 a.m.  White House advisor Kellyanne Conway is scheduled to address the crowd late this morning.