Jenna Ellis, a senior legal adviser to the Trump campaign who has argued for many of its failed legal efforts to overturn the result of the presidential election, Wednesday evening panned calls for President Trump to impose martial law and hold a new presidential election.
Ellis was responding to a tweet from a professional wrestler who had tweeted that Trump needs “to call martial law & redo the whole presidential election!!!” But the calls for what would be an unprecedented usurpation of the Constitution have come from other higher-profile sources as well.
Former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn essentially called for the same thing in a Newsmax appearance, telling Trump to “take military capabilities and place them in those states and basically rerun an election in each of those states.”
“It doesn’t work like that,” Ellis said in a tweet. “We have a constitutional process for the Electoral College and remedies for corrupted elections. I totally understand Americans’ passion, but we have to uphold the law, not undermine it.”
As Trump continues to make baseless claims that he won the presidential election in a “magnificent landslide,” Ellis’ tweet is a high-profile indication from someone who’s been publicly aligned with the president every step of the way that martial law is off the table.
Ellis has made clear her desire for the courts to step in and rule for the president in some of the cases she and other Trump allies have pursued and excoriated them for not doing so.
“The judicial branch has failed the American people,” she said earlier this week. “The state legislatures do not need a court order. Will they step up and protect election integrity? They are who the Constitution specifically grants plenary authority to. They HAVE to act.”
Nevertheless, Ellis shared a post by pundit Kurt Schlichter that said “[w]hat happened during the election is an outrage” but “[w]e have not even approached the frontier of extraconstitutional remedies.”
One move that is within the Constitution and Trump has backed is for members of Congress to challenge slates of electoral votes from states President-elect Joe Biden won. Some House members have said they would do this, but it’s not clear any senators would join them, a requirement for such a challenge to go to a vote in each chamber.
And even if a senator did back the challenge to a state’s electors, it is all but certain that neither House would vote to overturn any state’s electoral slate. And in that event, Congress would have to overturn the results of multiple states because Trump lost the Electoral College 306-232.
Flynn and his lawyer Sidney Powell, who has also been behind a number of failed lawsuits alleging election fraud, were reportedly in a meeting with Trump last week at which strategy for the president’s ongoing legal efforts was discussed. Trump White House aides vocally opposed suggestions by Powell and other outside advisers, the New York Times reported.
But even with White House aides and Ellis at least opposing martial law, it remains highly unclear if or when Trump will accept the fact that Biden will be inaugurated as the next president on Jan. 20.
“We won this election by a magnificent landslide,” Trump said Tuesday night. “And the people of the United States know it… We cannot allow a completely fraudulent election to stand.”