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What You Need To Know About Joni Ernst's Ex-Husband, Gail Ernst

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Who Is Joni Ernst's Ex-Husband? Details On Gail Ernst

Senator Joni Ernst is set to speak at the 2020 Republican National Convention on August 26 to show her support for Donald Trump's re-election campaign. 

Joni Ernst is the first female combat veteran to be elected to the Senate, but she’s also the first woman to represent the state of Iowa. Ernst has been a U.S. Senator since 2015, but before this, she was in the Iowa Senate and served in the Iowa Army National Guard, moving up the ranks and eventually retiring as a lieutenant colonel.

As a Republican, her views are far more right than moderate. She’s called for the elimination of the EPA, the IRS, and even the Department of Education as a way to save money. She’s also a continued supporter of the President, denies global warming exists, and is also a supporter of privatizing healthcare, so it's no wonder that Trump wants her to speak on his behalf at the RNC tonight.

Who is Joni Ernst's ex-husband, Gail Ernst?


A post shared by Senator Joni Ernst (@senjoniernst) on Aug 4, 2020 at 5:13pm PDT

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How did Joni Ernst and Gail Ernst meet?

Joni joined the ROTC program at Iowa State University where she met her future husband. Though it isn’t clear exactly how their relationship began, they most likely bonded over their shared values when she was 20 years old, in 1990. She met Gail during her time there, but it’s unclear in what capacity.

Did Gail Ernst serve in the military?

Ernst retired as a Command Sergeant Major in the United States Army Rangers. He joined the Army in 1973, right after graduating high school. But in 2001, he retired.

What does Gail Ernst do?

After retiring, he got a job as the Branch Manager of a bank in Red Oak, Iowa. Four years later, he was promoted to Market President, but moved on from banking in 2007. In 2009, he started working as a Manager at the airport in their city, eventually retiring in 2016. While in his position, he learned how to fly a plane and got his private pilot’s license. He now spends a lot of his time riding motorcycles.

Who is Gail Ernst's first wife?

Before his marriage to Joni, Gail was married to Ingrid Nesbit and has two daughters from their marriage.

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How old is Gail Ernst?

Gail joined the military in 1971, one year after Joni was born, making him 17 years her senior. He is currently 67 years old.

Who are Joni Ernst and Gail Ernst's kids?

Though Gail has two children from his previous relationship, he and Joni have a daughter, Libby. She began college in 2018 and is studying at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. She’s planning to follow in her parents’ footsteps!

Why was Gail Ernst criticized during Joni Ernst's campaign?

When running for Senate, her husband constantly posted “jokes” on his Facebook page. In March 2013, he posted: “What do you do if you see your ex running around in your front yard screaming and bloody? Stay calm. Reload. And try again.” He also took shots at the then-Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, commenting, “And am I suppose (sic) to give up my guns? As if! Traitorous skank!” He also called Hillary Clinton a “lying hag” regarding her role in Benghazi.

Joni later apologized for his remarks, saying, “I’m appalled by my husband’s remarks. They are uncalled for and clearly inappropriate. I’ve addressed this issue with my husband and that’s between us.”

Does Gail Ernst support Joni Ernst?

When she was awarded a place in the Plaza of Heroines at Iowa State University in 1994, a spot that Gail recommended her for, he followed it with a touching memo:

“Joni is a very remarkable woman who constantly amazes me with her concern for others, charitable nature and selfless outlook on life. She is always the first to volunteer her spare time for any worthwhile cause and is frustrated by the lack of participation by others in such events. I must qualify this endorsement by stating upfront that I am the very, very fortunate man that she married and that I love her more than life itself...

Giving more of her free time to worthy causes, Joni volunteered to work at a safehouse for battered and abused women and children in Ames, Iowa. Answering a beeper call at mostly inconvenient and late hours, Joni would head to a hospital, police station or safehouse to give comfort to a woman or child in need of support. This was accomplished without deterring her from a full class schedule and the ROTC commitment as well. It was at this time that I met and fell in love with the future Mrs. Ernst.”

When did Gail Ernst and Joni Ernst get divorced?

In August of 2018, the couple announced they are in the process of getting a divorce. Her office put out a statement regarding the split: “Senator Ernst and her husband, Gail, are in the process of divorcing. They remain committed to their children and family, and ask for respect for their privacy during this difficult time.”

Later on, Joni alleged that Gail had verbally and emotionally abused her for years, and on one occasion, he physically assaulted her after she confronted him about his relationship with their daughter's babysitter.

Their divorce was finalized in January of 2019.

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Samantha Maffucci is an associate editor for YourTango who focuses on writing trending news and entertainment pieces. In her free time, you can find her obsessing about cats, wine, and all things Vanderpump Rules.