DES MOINES, Iowa – There was a tense moment on Wednesday afternoon during a Senate confirmation hearing for President Joe Biden’s nominees to the Tennessee Valley Authority.
U.S. Senator Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, who sits on the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, questioned Beth Prichard Geer, a nominee to the TVA’s board of directors.
“Miss Gear, as you stated in your written testimony, you believe one reason you should be confirmed to serve in the TVA, the Tennessee Valley is because of your ability to, quote, build relationships and work together end quote, is that correct?” Ernst asked.
Gear said that was correct.
“And you believe civility is a fundamental aspect of your role on the Tennessee Valley board if confirmed?” Ernst asked, following up.
“Absolutely do, Senator, yes,” Gear replied.
One of Ernst’s staffers pulled out a floor chart with a 2015 tweet posted by Gear.
“And thank you for answering those questions, honestly. And I think it appears to be a recent sentiment. If you’ll take a look at the tweet that we also found. That’s me with darker hair, much shorter in 2015. So you can see that Beth Gear tweeted out at Fox News and at Senator Joni Ernst, hideous. Can you explain that tweet?” Ernst asked.
Gear replied to a Tweet by Fox News with a quote from Ernst’s giving the Republican response to President Barack Obama’s 2015 State of the Union address. She tweeted, “@FoxNews @SenJoniErnst hideous.”
Geer’s Twitter account s now blocked from public view.
“Well, I apologize if I offended you. And I appreciate your bringing it to my attention. And I do, in fact, believe that civility is key. And I’m sorry that I did not demonstrate that in your opinion with that,” Gear replied.
“So, Miss Gear, we’ll go back to the tweet. Maybe you’ve had time to refresh your memory a little bit. And I’m not sure if you’ve made a habit of calling women that disagree with you hideous or if it was simply an exception. But please let me be very clear. I stand by everything that I said in my State of the Union response back in 2015. Folks, this tweet is from 2015. I’ve heard a lot about tweets in the former administration. This is prior to that. This is not Iowa nice, folks. And I’m calling you out,” Ernst said.