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Iowa Senator Joni Ernst provoked a storm of criticism on Twitter after attempting to shame her election opponent for the crime of taking selfies with her dog and ultimately learned the hard way: leave the pets out of it.

The incumbent Republican senator who is seeking re-election in November blasted her opponent, Democrat Theresa Greenfield, for her lack of leadership which was apparently demonstrated by the fact that she takes pictures with her dog.

Speaking during a campaign conference call on Wednesday, Ernst called out Greenfield, saying she “has been hiding in her basement taking selfies with her dog Ringo.”

NEW: We’ve obtained the audio of ⁦@SenJoniErnst⁩ attacking Theresa’s dog by name.Listen 👇👇👇 #IStandWithRingo#RingoGate#IASenpic.twitter.com/tJhifKKYQo

“So, you know, she has not exhibited leadership throughout this entire process,” the senator concluded.

When audio of the “attack” on Ringo began making the Twitter rounds on Friday, it irritated dog lovers everywhere — so much so that the hashtags #IStandWithRingo and #RingoGate began trending.

Down in the polls & running a campaign w/ no message, @joniernst pivots to attacking @GreenfieldIowa for *checks notes* taking selfies with her beloved pet dog?!?!Ernst even mentioned Theresa’s dog Ringo by name!? 🐶 #IASenpic.twitter.com/1Ct6Vtuofq

The comment was highlighted by Greenfield’s communications director, Sam Newton, who said Ernst resorted to bringing Ringo into political fray because she was “down in the polls and running a campaign with no message.”

Users quickly began sharing photos of their own pets ‘showing support’ to the canine victim of Iowa politics.

#IStandWithRingoIt would not have taken too much of your ‘precious’ time to check how many dog owners there are in Iowa, @joniernst Hint: there’s a lot pic.twitter.com/Zsq8hdWSUU

Murphy is disappointed in you @joniernst . He and #IStandWithRingopic.twitter.com/wOJLOhlnSg

Some cat owners even decided to join the chorus of condemnation levelled at Ernst.

Greenfield immediately sought to capitalize on the popularity that befell her fluffy pet and put out a call from “good boy” Ringo for campaign donations.

Ringo says hi to all the good dogs out there standing up for him! #IStandWithRingoWe need to take action to give Iowa’s hardworking families a hand up. That starts with flipping this #IASen seat: https://t.co/8IhJEdobSz

While one incensed tweeter claimed the debacle meant Ernst that does not in fact appear to be true.

For #DogsInPoliticsDay we want to introduce you all to the newest member of our team, Chief Pawlitical Strategist Jax! pic.twitter.com/s0jQqe4t8z

Indeed, somewhat ironically, Ernst is posing with a dog in her own Twitter profile picture. In 2019, she announced that a dog named Jax would be her “Chief Pawliticial Strategist.”

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