The Trump re-election campaign's recently hired senior legal adviser, Jenna Ellis, has a long history of making controversial comments about LGBTQ people — and sharing them with the public — a review of her social media posts has found.
Ellis, a regular Fox News commentator, has published multiple disparaging remarks about gay and transgender people and Muslims. The comments were made as recently as October and extend as far back as 2016, when she called the designation of the Stonewall Inn in New York as a national monument a "celebration of sin."
In a Facebook post from July 2017, for example, she argued that conservatives should put aside any positive personal feelings they may have toward the LGBTQ community and focus on "God's judgment."
"Whether or not homosexuals are nice, wise people, or misunderstood, or mean is not the issue — God's Truth is the issue," Ellis wrote. "Sin is always sin, even if nice people commit it."
Later that year, after "Star Wars" director J.J. Abrams hinted that the franchise would include gay characters (which, in the most recent film, amounted to a seconds-long lesbian smooch), Ellis responded disparagingly.
"Why not also a Christian? Or a Muslim? Or a pedophile? Or every other representation of any subculture, belief, and lifestyle?" she wrote on Facebook. "This overwhelming need to have LGBT 'representation' everywhere shows the falsity of their cry for equality. They want absolute subjugation of culture."
More recently, Ellis took aim at the 2019 LGBTQ Democratic presidential town hall in Los Angeles. In a tweet she shared in October — just a month before she joined President Donald Trump's campaign team — Ellis called the event "a hate-based forum that is simply attacking the constitutionally protected right to free exercise of religion."
In her tweet, she shared a clip of herself on Fox News, where she repeated the claims and said the left was "trying to target the church and the family, which traditionally has upheld the heterosexual man as the leader of the church and the family."
According to the politics website Axios, Trump hired Ellis in November after having been "impressed by Ellis' TV appearances" on Fox News.
While Ellis appeared on Fox News more 30 times in the year prior to joining Trump's campaign team in November, Carly Shanahan, a Fox News spokesperson, told NBC News via email that Ellis is "not a former FOX News commentator" and "has never been part of this network."
Media Matters for America, a watchdog group that monitors conservative media, published a report last week that unearthed many of Ellis' "toxic" remarks about LGBTQ people and Muslims, saying the former pundit's comments are "not American."
Her controversial remarks about gays have not just been relegated to social media. In June 2017, during Pride Month, Ellis penned an op-ed for the Washington Examiner titled "Has Facebook labeled you a 'bigot'?" after she realized that she was unable to use Facebook's temporary "pride" reaction button.
"Facebook must be selectively giving this new reaction to liberals, with some suggesting that the social media giant is being 'culturally sensitive to bigots,'" she wrote. "Go ahead and don't even give me the option, Facebook. That's fine."
Before she joined the Trump campaign, Ellis was director of policy at the James Dobson Family Institute, a conservative Christian advocacy organization. During her time there, Ellis testified before the Colorado Legislature arguing that the state's ban on so-called gay conversion therapy, the medically debunked practice of trying to change a person's sexual orientation, would be used against religious communities, even though the law exempts religious therapists.
The national LGBTQ advocacy group GLAAD shared a Twitter thread last week highlighting Ellis' record of anti-gay and anti-trans remarks.
"Turns out she, like many people Trump has surrounded himself with, has a long history of anti-LGBTQ statements and actions," the organization tweeted.
Both the re-election campaign and the Trump administration have appointed people with documented histories of anti-LGBTQ views to top positions and advisory posts.
In November, NBC News reported on the appointment of a right-wing pundit — who had referred to gays as an "abomination" — to the advisory board of the Black Voices for Trump campaign coalition. And the LGBTQ civil rights group Lambda Legal in December reported that a third of Trump's circuit court judicial nominees have a "demonstrated history of anti-LGBTQ bias."
In a statement shared by email, Trump campaign spokesperson Tim Murtaugh said, "Jenna Ellis is a conservative who has been an ardent advocate for our founding Judeo-Christian principles, religious liberties, and our Constitution."
"It's not surprising that as a new advocate for President Trump, she is under attack by the liberal media. Jenna has a keen legal mind and the President's campaign values her input and counsel," he added.
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