NEW HARTFORD — Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says he is praying for his colleague and fellow Senator Joni Ernst.

The private life of Senator Ernst has become very public lately, with the release of documents surrounding her divorce. There are allegations of extramarital affairs, physical abuse by her now-ex-husband and Ernst said Wednesday night she was raped while she was a student at Iowa State University.

“People know how much I respect Senator Ernst and I don’t think I should comment in any way on her private life,” Grassley says. “She’s got to deal with a very tough situation that probably shouldn’t be discussed publicly but it seems to me she’s handling it very well.” Grassley, who is 37 years older than Iowa’s junior senator, was asked if he’s attempted to talk with Ernst since the personal details of her life went public, to offer his advice or comfort.

“Obviously, I support her totally and it may sound sentimental to say that I’ll pray for her,” Grassley says. “To be more direct to your question and not to really expand on anything I said, but yes, I did reach out to her.” Grassley says it should be clear from the schedule Ernst keeps that “she’s working hard for Iowans every day.”