Trump Legal Adviser Previously Called Him an ‘Idiot’ and a 'Bully’ but Now Says ‘I Was Completely Wrong’
Attorney and Trump adviser Jenna Ellis has lately been a staunch supporter of the president, including defending his campaign's legal attempts to contest the results of the election he lost to Joe Biden.
But Ellis hasn't always been a fan of Donald Trump — at least according to a series of old social media posts and radio interviews unearthed by CNN this week.
In one radio appearance four years ago, Ellis referred to Trump, 74, as an "idiot," adding then that he was a "typical bully" who can "dish it out, but can't take it."
On Facebook, she was even more clear in her disapproval of the then-candidate, writing in a 2016 post: "Trump's values are not conservative, but they're also not American."
CNN reports that she wrote other posts that same year suggesting Trump was not a "real Christian" and slamming his supporters for turning a blind eye to an "unethical, corrupt, lying, criminal, dirtbag."
"I could spend a full-time job just responding to the ridiculously illogical, inconsistent, and blatantly stupid arguments supporting Trump. But here's the thing: his supporters DON'T CARE about facts or logic. They aren't seeking truth," she wrote in March 2016. "Trump probably could shoot someone in the middle of NYC and not lose support. And this is the cumulative reason why this nation is in such terrible shape:We don't have truth seekers; we have narcissists."
Ellis joined Trump's campaign as a senior legal adviser a year ago, however, and her tone changed over time.
The same day the election was called for Biden, she wrote an op-ed for Fox News arguing that the winner of the race would be "determined by courts" as "we don't know yet who won."
(Trump has insisted that he lost due to widespread fraud and other issues, but he has not provided proof and his legal challenges have been largely unpersuasive to the courts. Recounts so far have likewise not showed him pulling ahead of Biden.)
Ellis also made an appearance on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher in which she sparred with the host regarding the election results.
When asked why so many world leaders have accepted America's election results but the president hasn't, Ellis said Trump's campaign legal team was simply asking "to make sure the results that are certified are the legitimate count."
In a statement sent to PEOPLE by the Trump campaign, Ellis acknowledged that she didn't endorse his first campaign for president but that her thinking had evolved in the four years since.
“It’s no secret that I did not support Donald Trump early in the primary process in 2015, like many others who didn’t know him, and I’ve always been straightforward with my opinions and I’ve always admitted when my opinion changes," the statement read. "I am glad to have learned that I was completely wrong about Trump back then and I’ve said that over and over publicly, as I saw him keeping his promises, and then eventually getting to know him personally."
She also swiped at the media, which she claimed was "intentionally trying to cast [Trump] terribly for their own activist interests."
"I wish media would cover the truth, and I’ve said very publicly before I worked for him why my opinion changed and hopefully given them the same insight the media refuses to," her statement continued.
Ellis' statement added that she appreciated CNN "showing clearly through past statements that I think for myself, and that my mind was changed based on fact and personal knowledge. President Trump is a sincere Christian, the best president in modern history, and made and kept his promises to the American people. I am proud to stand with him and his goals for the future of this country and all of its citizens.”
Ellis is not the first Trump adviser or ally who has a history of criticizing him. Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of Trump's biggest supporters in Congress, said in 2016 that Republicans "should have basically kicked him out of the party" over his hardline anti-immigration stance.
Trump's campaign and other conservatives have filed more than a dozen lawsuits contesting the results, without much success so far.
In some states, the campaign appears to be struggling to maintain a hold on its own legal counsel. In Arizona, for example, a firm representing the campaign in one of its suits backed out last week.
Two groups of attorneys also withdrew from the campaign's federal case in Pennsylvania, where Trump is seeking to block the state from certifying its election results ahead of an Electoral College vote in December that will officially make Biden the president-elect.
Even an attorney who remains as legal counsel in the Pennsylvania case had expressed a lack of confidence in the effort.
And then there's Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal lawyer and former New York City mayor who is representing him in Pennsylvania despite not having appeared in a courtroom in years.
Earlier this week, Giuliani faced a series of tough questions from a federal judge in Pennsylvania as he sought to have the court overturn millions of votes in the state.
"You're alleging that the two individual plaintiffs were denied the right to vote," Judge Matthew Brann asked Giuliani during the proceedings, as reported by CNN. "But at bottom, you're asking this court to invalidate more than 6.8 million votes, thereby disenfranchising every single voter in the Commonwealth. Could you tell me how this result could possibly be justified?"
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