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GOP Sen. Joni Ernst: Trump ‘Needs to Send a Stronger Message’ on Domestic Abuse

Sen. Joni Ernst was in no mood to carry water for President Donald Trump on Tuesday, appearing on CNN to chastise his administration for its handling of the Rob Porter domestic abuse scandal.

CNN’s John Berman first noted Ernst’s experience working with victims of domestic abuse, before asking the Iowa Republican to “assess how the White House handled the domestic abuse allegations against former key staffer Rob Porter.”

Ernst replied that she is unaware of the timeline of when the White House found out about the allegations made against Porter — who resigned last week after both his ex-wives came forward to detail his abuse — but said is “extremely disappointed in this situation.”

“Abuse is never okay,” Ernst said. “I feel very bad for those women, I am glad that they have came forward.”

“We need to send a very clear signal that [abuse] won’t be tolerated, and it won’t be tolerated with our employees.”

“Is the president sending that message?” Berman asked, in light of criticism that Trump has not come out forcefully enough against the former aide accused of abuse.

“I think he needs to send a stronger message,” Ernst said.

“He hasn’t said enough yet, in other words?” Berman followed up.

“Yeah, I’d like him to come out a little bit stronger on that,” she replied.

Berman then brought up this morning’s report that after photos showing Porter’s ex-wife with a black eye were released, WH press sec Sarah Huckabee Sanders called a meeting with four reporters and the aide to allow him to explain himself — contradicting the administration’s claims that Porter was booted from the White House as soon as they found out about the allegations.

“I think you can’t justify it,” Ernst said. “You can’t justify that.”

Ernst added that a congressional investigation into the White House’s handling of the Porter scandal is something Congress can consider.

Watch above, via CNN.

[image via screengrab]

Follow Aidan McLaughlin (@aidnmclaughlin) on Twitter