What if Donald Trump had chosen a women to be his vice president? How would that have affected how the political environment looks today? The woman who was on his radar for the job surely would not have been the adoring doormat that Vice President Mike Pence has been in this administration.
Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) said that she turned down the opportunity to become Donald Trump’s VP. She said that her husband stopped her and “hated any successes I have.” As a result she divorced him, according to The Guardian:
‘I turned Candidate Trump down, knowing it wasn’t the right thing for me or my family.’
The couple was married for 26 years. During that time, Ernst commanded the 1168th Transportation Company of the Iowa National Guard in Iraq from May to August 2003. After that her company was a protection detail guarding Camp Arifjan in Kuwait.
Her website calls her the “first female combat veteran elected to serve in the United States Senate.” She won her election in 2014 and gave the 2015 Republican response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address. She wore camouflage high-heels. Ernst was the first woman from Iowa to ever be elected to federal office.
In an affidavit related to her divorce, Ernst said:
‘…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. I continued to make sacrifices and not soar higher out of concern for Gail and our family.’
Trump invited the senator to his Bedminister golf course resort in New Jersey July 4, 2016. Two days later she told him:
‘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.’
Although that was her excuse, Ernst actually blamed her marriage for her decision:
‘Meanwhile, he hated any successes I had and would belittle me and get angry any time I achieved a goal.’
Of course, each divorce has two sides. Mr. Ernst claimed that he had supported his former wife’s career in politics. However, he said in the court filing that sacrifice on his part took a toll on him:
‘I gave up all my aspirations and goals to be a good dad and husband so Joni could pursue her dreams.’
Ernst would have made history if she decided to accept Trump’s invitation. The election would have been historic with two women seeking election, one from each party. Secretary Hillary Clinton (D-NY) was running for president against Trump in 2016 as the first female presidential nominee from a major party. Clinton also ran against President Barack Obama in 2008.
Two other women have been vice-presidential nominees, Representative Geraldine Ferraro (D-NY) in 1984 with former vice president Walter Mondale (D-MN) and one-term governor Sarah Palin (R-AK) with Senator John McCain (R-AZ) in 2008.
After Ernst turned Trump down, he narrowed his choices to Governor Mike Pence (R-IN), Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ), and former speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA).
Featured image is a screenshot via YouTube.