Senator Ernst’s spokesperson says the meeting between Ernst and the president today has been canceled.
Iowa Senator Joni Ernst says it is important to move ahead after the man in line to become the Secretary of Defense withdrew his name when allegations surfaced that he abused his wife.
“We need a permanent Secretary of Defense in short order. And I do have a meeting scheduled at the White House later today where I will be visiting with the president about that,” Ernst says. Ernst is a Republican from Red Oak who is a veteran and is on the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Mark Esper, who was the Secretary of the Army, has been appointed acting Defense Secretary, and Ernst says that was a good move. “I think that secretary Esper is very, very, very well qualified for this position — and that is the opinion that I will be giving the president this afternoon as we talk about the current situation,” according to Ernst.
She says Esper is a candidate who should get bipartisian support. “We really do need to have this move quite quickly. And I think that secretary Esper is someone who will garner support from Democrats and Republicans alike,” Ernst says.
Ernst says she likes Esper because he understands the ongoing situation with Iran and the operations in Afghanistan. “He is not one that will need to be read in as a new person coming into a new situation,” Ernst says. “He has a very, very solid grasp of what is going on around the globe — and I will be lending him my support.”
Ernst made her comments during her weekly conference call with reporters.