Jenna Ellis, a former lawyer for Donald Trump who has also represented Pastor John MacArthur, has left the Republican Party. Ellis, who is an evangelical Christian, argues that the GOP does not represent true conservative values.
“I am leaving the Republican party until the Republican Party comes back home to conservatives,” said Ellis, speaking to Newsmax’s Greg Kelly. “I will stand up and champion truth, conservative principles, our Declaration of Independence as America’s charter, and the U.S. Constitution, but I will not stand and abide by a party that says that we have to support everything that comes under the banner of ‘R,’ even if it is not conservative.”
As one example of not being truly conservative, Ellis cited Republican National Committee (RNC) chairperson Ronna Romney McDaniel’s recent tweet in support of Pride month. Ellis also mentioned the current infrastructure bill (which has bipartisan support) and Sen. Mitch McConnell’s comments about Trump after what Ellis called the “second impeachment hoax.” The Senate acquitted the former president in February, but McConnell nevertheless said that Trump was “morally responsible” for the Jan. 6 attacks on the U.S. Capitol and that Trump had been guilty of “a disgraceful, disgraceful dereliction of duty.”
After listing those examples, Ellis said, “All of these things are not conserving our principles of liberty and justice for all.”
Jenna Ellis’ View of Conservative Values
Jenna Ellis serves as special counsel with the Thomas More Society and as the chairwoman of the board of the newly founded American Greatness Fund, which seeks to preserve election integrity. Ellis also served with Rudy Giuliani on the legal team that challenged the presidential election results in 2020.
Prior to the 2020 election, Ellis came on in August as special counsel for John MacArthur’s Grace Community Church in its extended battle with the state of California over the right to meet in person. The church’s lawyers and the county are still working on reaching a settlement. Ellis has been affiliated with the Standing for Freedom Center, formerly the Falkirk Center, although she no longer appears on the website among the list of fellows.
Ellis’ argument that the Republican Party has betrayed conservative values follows new revelations that last November RNC chief counsel Justin Riemer called Ellis’ efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results “a joke.” On July 13, author Michael Wolff released a book titled, “Landslide: The Final Days of the Trump Presidency.” Wolff says that in an email in November, Riemer said, “What Rudy and Jenna are doing is a joke and they are getting laughed out of court. They are misleading millions of people who have wishful thinking that the president is going to somehow win this thing.”
Ellis told Kelly that it was “sinister” that RNC leaders, including Riemer, were “actively undermining” Trump even as they publicly told Americans that they supported him. Riemer, who remains in the RNC, reiterated the views he expressed in the email in a statement:
I led the RNC legal team in over 55 lawsuits on behalf of the President’s reelection, winning a majority of them, including the only successful post-election lawsuit. Any suggestion that I did not support President Trump or do everything in my power to support the RNC’s efforts to reelect President Trump is false. I will say publicly now what I then said privately: I take issue with individuals who brought lawsuits that did not serve President Trump well and did not give him the best chance in court.
For Ellis, however, true conservative values seem to be intertwined with supporting Trump’s fight for a second term; Republicans who fail to do so are therefore not true conservatives. Her views stand in contrast with those of other pro-Trump leaders, such as Jeremiah Johnson, a charismatic ministry leader who came to believe that continuing to support the former president after he lost the election was a form of idolatry.