It might seem like ancient history, but during Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, Jenna Ellis was not a fan. As regular readers might recall, the Republican lawyer repeatedly described the then-candidate as an “idiot,” adding that she considered him an “unethical, corrupt, lying, criminal, dirtbag.” Ellis even took aim at Trump’s supporters, saying they didn’t care about “facts or logic.”
She later changed her mind. In fact, despite her rhetorical record, Ellis actually joined Trump’s legal team, becoming a rather enthusiastic proponent, not only of her client’s lies about his 2020 defeat, but also of radical tactics that would allow the then-president to remain in office despite the election results.
Evidently, she’s come full circle. The Daily Beast reported:
Jenna Ellis, Donald Trump’s former senior legal adviser and current co-defendant in Georgia, has made a dramatic break from the former president, saying she will not support his third bid for the White House based on his inability to ever admit to wrongdoing. “I simply can’t support him for elected office again,” Ellis said during an episode of her show American Family Radio. “Why I have chosen to distance is because of that frankly malignant narcissistic tendency to simply say that he’s never done anything wrong.”
Media Matters posted the full audio clip and transcript. It’s worth noting for context that her comments about Trump’s “malignant narcissistic” tendencies came after her guest complained that Trump “can’t admit, ‘I’m not God.’” Ellis responded that was “incredibly well said.”
In the abstract, the fact that a former president is facing criticisms from one of his former lawyers might not seem especially notable. After all, clients and attorneys have been known to clash from time to time.
But what’s striking about Ellis’ on-air comments is how much company she has.
Michael Cohen, for example, was a former Trump lawyer who eventually became a fierce Trump critic. Ty Cobb worked with Trump during the investigation into the Russia scandal, and he has also made comments the former president probably didn’t like, including describing the Republican as a “deeply wounded narcissist.”
There’s also, of course, former Attorney General Bill Barr, who has not only been deeply critical of Trump, but who also recently said in response to the indictment in the classified documents case: “If even half of it is true, then he’s toast.” (I know Barr wasn’t actually one of Trump’s lawyers, but given that he effectively served as Trump’s legal advocate while in office, it hardly seemed outlandish to add him to the mix.)
Between the former president’s Cabinet members and his former lawyers, the number of people who worked closely with Trump and who still hold him in high regard seems amazingly small.