Republican Sen. Joni Ernst says she turned down Trump's offer to be his 2016 running mate because her husband 'hated' her success

  • Sen. Joni Ernst, an Iowa Republican, said she turned down President Donald Trump’s offer to be his vice-presidential running mate during the 2016 election because Ernst’s husband “hated” her success.
  • Ernst made this claim and others about her husband of 26 years in divorce filings first reported on by The Guardian.
  • “He hated any successes I had and would belittle me and get angry any time I achieved a goal,” Ernst wrote of her husband, who counters that he sacrificed his career in service to his wife and family.

Sen. Joni Ernst, an Iowa Republican, said she turned down President Donald Trump’s offer to be his vice-presidential running mate during the 2016 election in part because her husband “hated any successes I have.”

The 48-year-old lawmaker and combat veteran made the claim about her husband, Gail Ernst, in divorce filings first reported on by The Guardian on Tuesday.

“In the summer of 2016, I was interviewed by Candidate Trump to be vice president of the United States. I turned Candidate Trump down, knowing it wasn’t the right thing for me or my family,” she wrote in an affidavit. “I continued to make sacrifices and not soar higher out of concern for Gail and our family.”

The senator said her husband of 26 years resented her professional achievements and hampered her career prospects.

“Meanwhile, he hated any successes I had and would belittle me and get angry any time I achieved a goal,” she wrote.

Gail Ernst said in his filing that he sacrificed his own career in service of his wife’s. The couple went public with their divorce last August.

“I gave up all my aspirations and goals to be a good dad and husband so Joni could pursue her dreams,” the filing said.

In July 2016, Joni Ernst told Politico that she had ruled out the possibility of a vice-presidential bid because, as a freshman, she had more work to do for her home state.

“I made that very clear to him that I’m focused on Iowa. I feel that I have a lot more to do in the United States Senate. And Iowa is where my heart is,” Ernst said of a July 4, 2016, conversation she had with Trump.

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