Speaking in front of a room filled with conservative grassroots activists, Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, took on President Barack Obama’s foreign policy strategy, arguing that the country needs to elect a new leader who is willing to confront the “real and dangerous threats” facing the nation.
“We’ve all got to come together and find conservative leadership that will confront the very real and dangerous threats America faces in this world,” Ernst said at the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, outside Washington, D.C. “The reality is, the world is in turmoil, and President Obama does not want to face that fact.”
Criticizing Obama for once referring to the Islamic State—also known as ISIS—as a “JV” team, Ernst, who served in the military for more than 23 years, stressed the urgency for new leadership.
“The San Bernardino attacks proved this is not just some JV force in the Middle East,” she said. “ISIS is present in all 50 states, according to the FBI. Think about that for a moment.”
Ernst sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee, which oversees the nation’s military. She is also a member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
The lack of leadership in confronting ISIS, Ernst said, is not just hurting the homeland. The administration’s “inability to stand tall and destroy ISIS” is bleeding into other sectors of the country’s foreign policy, she argued.
“Russia is taking advantage of our lack of leadership in Eastern Europe and the Middle East right now,” Ernst said, adding:
Over the past seven years, the Obama-Clinton foreign policy strategy has been to give ground to Vladimir Putin from Ukraine to Syria, [and] to retreat from making tough choices in the defense of American interest in our national security.
Rallying young conservatives in the room, Ernst said the time is now to elect new leadership.
“We need to make this happen,” she said. “We need a conservative who will help our allies and protect our national security.”
Running through Saturday, CPAC offers conservatives across the country an opportunity to gather with fellow activists and leaders for speeches, panels, exhibits, and other activities at Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center at Maryland’s National Harbor.