Trump campaign advisor Jenna Ellis, an anti-LGBTQ extremist with ties to a hate group, came out swinging on behalf of Christian nationalism during a campaign event hosted by Asian Pacific Americans for Trump.
Ellis, who has previously told supporters that if they don’t like LGBTQ people they should vote to reelect Trump, forcefully told attendees that the separation between church and state is a myth.
“The left is going to tell you there’s this separation of church and state, and that’s just nowhere in the Constitution, nowhere in American law,” she said during a Zoom event. “That’s nothing that our founding principles ever, uh, derived whatsoever.”
Ellis tried to stretch the argument to praise Trump for his infamous photo op in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church at the height of public demands for racial justice. The president had protestors outside the White House teargassed so he could cross the park to stand in front of the church holding a Bible.
“As faith-based Christians and pastors and faith leaders, we need to be telling truth about protecting and preserving religious freedom in our country… and especially protecting and preserving the church’s authority in our society,” she said. “And so that’s what President Trump so remarkably [did] with his walk from the White House over to St. James [sic] Church.”
“For him to go out and hold up that Bible in front of the church and acknowledge that religious liberty prevails in America like no other society and nation that ever existed in the face of the Earth—that is what our freedom is all about.”
Earlier this year, she claimed, “‘separation of church and state’ is a myth perpetuated by liberals to pretend morality and religion cannot be part of the government.”
After the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub that targeted Latino LGBTQ people, Ellis penned a column headlined “Two Wrongs Do Not Make an LGBT Right,” that downplayed the domestic terrorism and complained that it was being used to legitimize LGBTQ rights.
Ellis has claimed that “Christians cannot follow God and accept or condone or participate in homosexuality”; and said gay and bisexual men have higher rates of HIV because “we cannot escape God’s moral law and His supremacy” according to Media Matters.
She also promoted conversion therapy – the discredited practice of trying to turn an LGBTQ person straight and cisgender – as recently as last week. All major medical associations say the practice is harmful to the mental and physical health of those who endure it.
Ellis formerly worked for the James Dobson Family Institute. The group’s founder and namesake also started Focus on the Family, one of the most vociferous anti-LGBTQ hate groups in the nation.
“While the literal words ‘wall of separation between church and state’ don’t appear in the Constitution, the concept of church-state separation certainly does,” Americans United for Separation of Church and State wrote in response to the religious-right argument. “If you doubt that, just read the writings of Jefferson, James Madison and generations of U.S. Supreme Court justices tasked with interpreting and applying the Constitution. We’re gonna take their word for it.”
One of the campaign’s most visible surrogates, Trump reportedly hired her because she looked good on television.