- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Sen. Joni Ernst invoked the Ghosts of Twitter Past against one of President Biden’s nominees at a Wednesday hearing.

The Iowa Republican reminded Beth Prichard Geer that she had insulted the lawmaker’s looks in 2015.

Ms. Geer, whom Mr. Biden picked last year for an open seat on the Tennessee Valley Authority’s board of directors, agreed with Ms. Ernst that she had said that one of her strengths was an ability to “build relationships and work together” and that civility is a fundamental value on the board.

Ms. Ernst then had a display-size board marched out and said that Ms. Geer’s words “appear to be a recent sentiment.”

On the board was a tweet from Ms. Geer reacting to Ms. Ernst having just given the Republican response to President Obama’s 2015 State of the Union speech.

“You can see that Beth Geer tweeted out at [the accounts of] Fox News and at Sen. Joni Ernst ‘hideous,’” Ms. Ernst said.

“Can you explain that tweet?” she asked.

Ms. Geer initially parried the question, saying she couldn’t see the board and thus what the whole tweet had said.

“I just read it to you. ‘Hideous,’” Ms. Ernst replied before reading what she herself had tweeted at the time, combined with a picture of her with “darker hair, much shorter.”

Ms. Geer then offered an apology, but phrased it in the conditional tense.

“I apologize if I offended you, and I appreciate your bringing it to my attention. I do in fact believe that civility is key and I’m sorry that I did not demonstrate that in your opinion with that tweet,” she said.

Ms. Ernst then wondered aloud whether Ms. Geer has “made a habit of calling women that disagree with you ‘hideous.’ Or if it was simply an exception.”

She then noted that former President Donald Trump, who has been banned from social media and whom Democrats frequently blame for the collapse of civility, had nothing to do with this Democratic attack on a woman’s looks.

“Folks this tweet is from 2015. We heard a lot about tweets in the former administration. This is prior to that. This is not Iowa nice and I’m calling you out,” she concluded.

Ms. Geer has been chief of staff for the office of former Vice President Al Gore since 2012.

• Victor Morton can be reached at vmorton@washingtontimes.com.

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