Donald Trump’s Lawyer Applies Emoluments Clause to Meghan Markle Rather Than Former President
Donald Trump was accused of violating the emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution throughout his presidency. Now, in a feat of projection, an attorney who was part of his team to try to overturn the election results is trying to point the finger at Megan Markle, Duchess of Sussex.
Trump and his supporters have been critical of Markle for a slate of partisan reasons. In 2020, BBC reports that the then-president made disparaging remarks about her after learning she had encouraged the U.S. to reject hate and choose decency — words he interpreted as supportive of Joe Biden for President.
Now, since Markle’s Oprah Winfrey interview, the right is attacking her again. In this case, Jenna Ellis, one of the attorneys who worked to attempt to overturn the U.S. Presidential Election for Donald Trump, is tweeting bizarre criticisms. She compared Markle’s marriage to evangelical support for Biden, then tweeted the emoluments clause.
I’m just gonna take this moment to say… I’m very thankful for George Washington’s humility and also for our founders’ wisdom to include Article 1, Section 9, Clause 8. #HarryandMeghanonOprah pic.twitter.com/gI9LGvSYvN
— Jenna Ellis (@JennaEllisEsq) March 8, 2021
While Ellis focused on this clause’s words about the U.S. conferring titles, she left in some other relevant text.
No person holding any office or trust under [the U.S.] shall, without the Consent of Congress, accept any present, emolument, office, or title…from any King, Prince, or foreign state.
Ellis may have had the opportunity to become more familiar with this clause over the past few years, as has the average American. Trump after all, has been accused of violating it over and over, until finally the Supreme Court ordered the emoluments cases dismissed as moot, according to the AP, because Trump is no longer in office.
Until SCOTUS set Trump free from these cases, investigators sought to determine exactly how much Trump was using the office to profit off of foreign governments, seeking records to show how much governments had spent at Trump properties, and whether this constituted illegally profiting from his presidency.
Ellis’s tweet misses the point and displays a keen irony: that clause has been much more relevant for the former president she continues to support, than for the Duchess of Sussex.