Jenna Ellis, former senior legal adviser to Donald Trump, has attracted furious backlash after her hateful commentary about the mass shooting Saturday at the Club Q gay nightclub in Colorado.
Five people died and at least 18 others were injured in the attack in Colorado Springs, which came amid a campaign by conservative media and politicians to demonize trans people and drag queens and pass hostile legislation targeting the LGBTQ community as a whole. The fear campaign has coincided with a spike in anti-LGBTQ harassment, threats and violence. The suspect in the killings faces murder and hate crime charges.
In an episode of her podcast this week, Ellis suggested that the victims of the shooting would suffer “eternal damnation” because they weren’t, in her eyes, Christian.
“Even more tragic than untimely death, is that the five people who were killed in the nightclub that night, there is no evidence at all that they were Christians,” the far-right attorney said. “And so assuming that they had not accepted the truth of the Gospel of Christ and affirmed Jesus Christ as the lord of their life, they are now reaping the consequences of having eternal damnation.”
Ellis, also a right-wing media pundit, played a top role in Trump’s failed legal push to overturn the 2020 presidential election and most recently worked as a legal adviser to extremist Republican gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano in Pennsylvania, who lost. Her history of anti-LGBTQ rhetoric dates back years.
In one 2017 Facebook post recorded by Media Matters, for example, she wrote: “Whether or not homosexuals are nice, wise people, or misunderstood, or mean is not the issue. … Sin is always sin, even if nice people commit it.”
And after the 2016 Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando, Florida, in which 49 people were killed and 53 wounded, she voiced her disappointment that “conservatives are acquiescing to the LGBT agenda.”
“The Orlando shooting was absolutely terrible and tragic. But the response to this tragedy should not be embracing and advocating for gay rights,” she said after the deadly attack on the gay nightclub.
Earlier this week, she criticized the Colorado Springs Police Department because it included each of the Club Q victims’ pronouns when sharing their identities.
In the wake of the attack, right-wing figures have rebuffed accusations that their rhetoric helped create the environment for anti-LGBTQ violence, instead accusing critics of “politicizing” the tragedy and doubling down on their false narratives vilifying the community and its allies.
Ellis met fierce condemnation online Wednesday after clips of her Club Q commentary circulated.
In response to the outcry, Ellis insisted she doesn’t have anything against gay and trans people, just anyone she deems not to be Christian enough.
“I am concerned for ANYONE and EVERYONE who is not saved,” she tweeted. “The point isn’t that these people were gay/trans, but that there is no evidence they were saved. Y’all need church.”