Joni Ernst says her husband physically attacked her

Ernst, a Republican who represents Iowa, said that during her 26-year marriage with Gail Ernst, she was the victim of verbal and mental abuse and a physical assault after which a victim’s advocate wanted to take her to a hospital, she wrote in public records connected to their divorce.

“Gail has been very cruel,” she wrote. “This has been an extremely painful journey.”

Ernst in August announced through a brief statement that she and Gail Ernst were divorcing. The divorce was finalized this month.

In an affidavit in October, Joni Ernst described a history of emotional abuse that included her husband belittling her and becoming angry when she achieved her goals. She was interviewed by then-candidate Donald Trump to run for vice president, but she turned him down, describing the move as not the right thing for her or her family, she said.

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