‘Let Me Explain Something’: Exasperated Whoopi Lectures Joni Ernst, Says Iowa Is Too White To Lead Primaries
Senator Joni Ernst, a Republican from Iowa, speaks during a news conference following the weekly Republican caucus luncheon at the US Capitol in Washington, D.C., US, on Tuesday, July 12, 2022. Crunch time has arrived for the White House's economic agenda as congressional Democrats scramble for a deal on a slimmed-down version of what was once a multi-trillion-dollar overhaul of domestic policy. Photographer: Ting Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Ting Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A clearly exasperated Whoopi Goldberg paused briefly on Monday to lecture Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) for daring to complain about President Joe Biden’s plan to move the “first-in-the-nation” primary to South Carolina — undercutting both the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary — ahead of the 2024 election.

Goldberg offered to “explain” things to the senator — and then claimed that South Carolina would be a better representation of the nation at large because Iowa’s population is more than 80% white.


Ernst said over the weekend that she was “disappointed” to see the Democrats moving to take away her state’s “first-in-the-nation” status, adding, “I feel that Democrats have really given middle America the middle finger.”

Goldberg shared her comments before responding with a dramatic sigh, “Actually, Joni, let me explain something. … This is probably a move so that it best represents a state, because Iowa is about 87.1% white.”


Hurrying to qualify her remarks by saying it wasn’t necessarily a “bad thing” that Iowa was a majority-white state, Goldberg argued that the Carolinas represented more of a “variety of folks.”

And while Goldberg is right that there are more non-white people in South Carolina, the demographics there are not quite representative of the country as a whole. South Carolina is about 69% white and nearly 27% black — while the overall population of the United States is 75% white and just under 14% black.

ABC News’ Juju Chang pushed back a bit, explaining that the move was being pursued in part because Iowa is very cold in the early months of the year, and the caucus system as a whole is confusing to most Americans. She did agree, however, that Iowa was not a good representation of the nation as a whole.

Goldberg jumped back in then, saying that she had not meant any disrespect to Iowans. “I just felt I needed to explain one of the reasons might be,” she said. “No disrespect.”

Republican co-host Alyssa Farah Griffin weighed in on the issue, saying that Biden was likely considering South Carolina because it was the first primary he had won in 2020 — and argued that Michigan (79% white and 14% black) would have been a better choice.


Co-host Ana Navarro suggested that Biden’s ties to Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC) — who is largely credited with delivering his state for Biden in the 2020 primary — might explain why the Palmetto State is on the table.

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