State Sen. Joni Ernst, the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Iowa, said that President Barack Obama had “become a dictator” and that he should be punished for his executive actions, even if that meant “impeachment.”
Ernst made the comments during a candidate forum back in January in Montgomery County, Iowa. The video of Ernst’s comments were first flagged by Yahoo News on Tuesday.
Ernst’s comments were in response to a question about whether Obama should face “punishment” if the Supreme Court ruled against him in a case that was pending at the time on recess appointments. Here’s the rambling question Ernst was asked:
The Supreme Court is presently is considering whether the president overstepped his authority with appointments that were done on January 5 when the Senate was, in fact in session, despite his arguments to the contrary. This is, likely, one of many things he has done outside the scope of his constitutional authority, as some think approaches dictatorship. If we could assume for a moment that the Supreme Court would rule that there was abuse of power, what do you think should be the punishment? And two, as a US senator, what would you to stop this blatant misuse of power, through such things like executive authority?
“I do think that yes, he should face those repercussions, and whether that’s removal from office, whether that’s impeachment,” Ernst said in response.
She went on to say that as a U.S. Senator it’s important not to be “silent” on actions that warranted Obama’s impeachment.
“And unfortunately we have a number of legislators right now that simply let these things happen. They’re not speaking up against these actions,” Ernst said. “They’re not speaking out against the president when he oversteps his bounds, when he makes those appointments, when he’s appointing czars, when he is producing executive orders in a threat to a Congress that won’t do as he wishes. So he has become a dictator.”
Ernst’s comments come at the end of the video here.
This story was updated.