Republican Senator Joni Ernst today said it “seems heartless” to deport people whose parents brought them into the U.S. illegally when they were children.
“What I’ve been doing is kind of querying conservatives and Republicans across the state: ‘What do you think the answer to DACA is?’ And probably 90 percent or better say: ‘We need a permanent solution. They’re parts of our communities and we can’t let them go. They need to be here,'” Ernst said. “And I agree.”
Ernst indicated President Trump “supports” the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA program, he just requires a deal on DACA to include more funding for border security.
Ernst held a town hall meeting in Boone this afternoon that was livestreamed by The Des Moines Register. Ernst told the crowd she doesn’t “appreciate the rhetoric coming out of the White House” because “so much” of her time is spent answering questions about what the president says rather than the legislation she’s working on.
Ernst addressed accounts indicating Trump used a derogatory word during an Oval Office meeting to describe African nations. As she visits other countries on congressional trips, Ernst said she tries to present a “consistent” U.S. message of “level-headedness.”
“We have good friends in other nations…We need to treat them with dignity and respect, just as we would expect to be treated,” Ernst said. “…Hopefully, beyond the administration, they will see that they do have partners.”
A few minutes later, a man in the crowd directly asked Ernst if the president is a racist.
“Deep inside, no, I don’t think he’s a racist,” Ernst said. “I think he’s brash and he says things that are on his mind, but I don’t truly think that he is a racist.”
Ernst got crowd reaction to the statement that ranged from disagreement to applause.