President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski teed off on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle after they recorded a video plug urging Americans to register to vote and Harry urged Americans to ‘reject hate speech.’
‘They made Britain great again by leaving, I hope they do the same for us,’ Lewandowski, now a senior 2020 advisor to the Trump campaign, told DailyMail.com Wednesday, in comments after Harry and Meghan’s comments in a Time 100 video message made waves on both sides of the Atlantic.
Harry and Meghan, now ensconced in an L.A. mansion as Election Day approaches after relinquishing their royal titles, made their remarks just weeks before the Nov. 3 elections, with Americans in some states are already going to the polls.
‘As we approach this November, it’s vital that we reject hate speech, misinformation and online negativity,’ said Harry – in a line some observers in Britain and the U.S. immediately took to be a plug for Joe Biden and a slap at President Trump.
Said the California-born Markle, 39: ‘We’re six weeks out from the election, and today is Voter Registration Day. Every four years, we’re told the same thing, ‘This is the most important election of our lifetime.’ But this one is. When we vote, our values are put into action, and our voices are heard.’
Trump campaign spokesman Jason Miller indicated he saw no such preference in Prince Harry’s words.
‘I’m assuming you’re asking me because of Joe Biden’s record of hateful and divisive language, particularly toward the African American community?’ he responded when asked by DailyMail.com for comment.
Then he wrote: ‘I read this as warranted criticism of Joe Biden’s racist policies. He’s the only person I know of who has spoken at a Klan member’s funeral!’ – a reference to Biden’s eulogy for former the late Senate leader Robert C. Byrd, who was a klan member in West Virginia in the 1940s but later apologized for what he called a ‘sad mistake.’
‘They made Britain great again by leaving, I hope they do the same for us,’ Corey Lewandowski, now a senior 2020 advisor to the Trump campaign, told DailyMail.com
Markle told Marie Claire in August that she intended to vote. ‘I know what it’s like to have a voice, and also what it’s like to feel voiceless,’ she said. ‘I also know that so many men and women have put their lives on the line for us to be heard. And that opportunity, that fundamental right, is in our ability to exercise our right to vote and to make all of our voices heard.’
Before marrying Harry but after Trump’s election, Markle called Trump ‘misogynistic’ and ‘divisive’ in a TV appearance.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle ‘crossed a line’ by speaking out about the US election and ‘effectively telling Americans to vote against Trump’, royal insiders believe.
The Duke of Sussex told voters to ‘reject hate speech’ while the Duchess called the presidential race the ‘most important election of our lifetime’ as the couple urged Americans to register to vote.
Speaking in a Time 100 video message, apparently filmed from their California home, Harry admitted he was not eligible to vote – adding that he had never voted in the UK either where convention dictates that royals keep well clear of politics.
While Harry and Meghan did not name their favored candidate, many viewers thought it ‘obvious’ they were backing Joe Biden over Donald Trump – although a source close to Harry denied this.
Royal experts told MailOnline that the couple should give up their titles and sever their links to the monarchy for good if they wanted to comment on US politics, while insiders told The Times that palace aides would be concerned about their intervention.
MailOnline editor-at-large Piers Morgan said: ‘Prince Harry poking his woke nose into the US election and effectively telling Americans to vote against President Trump is completely unacceptable behaviour for a member of the Royal Family.’
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have spoken out about the upcoming U.S. election, in a stark break with British tradition that prohibits royal involvement in politics
For his part, Harry said: ‘As we approach this November, it’s vital that we reject hate speech, misinformation and online negativity’
Former Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker, the author of the book And What Do You Do? What The Royal Family Don’t Want You To Know, said Harry should not speak out about US politics while he is still a ‘representative’ of the UK.
‘I think it’s appropriate for any private citizen to comment on the US election. The problem is that Harry has retained his HRH status and is not a private citizen but still a representative of this country,’ Mr Baker told MailOnline.
‘He needs to stop trying to have a foot in both camps – royal when it suits him and private when it doesn’t.
‘Or to turn on its head the old phrase, I agree with what he says but disagree with his right to say it.’
Royal biographer Robert Jobson told MailOnline that it ‘may be easier’ for Meghan and Harry to give up their royal titles altogether given the ‘business and political agenda they appear to want to pursue’.
Mr Jobson, whose latest book is called The Royal Family Operations Manual, said the couple were now ‘completely detached’ from the British monarchy and would be best off abandoning their titles altogether.
‘Meghan, after all, holds American citizenship and has always voted,’ he said. ‘The business about royals not getting involved in politics is less clear when it comes to Meghan or what the protocol should be in this case.
‘But as she is now back living in her country I am sure many would think it wrong that she is not allowed to exercise her democratic right to vote.
‘Royals even in this country are entitled to their opinion and, such as the very vocal the Prince of Wales and Prince William voice them, particularly on the environment and the natural world. They see this as leadership.
‘The important part is that they are not partisan, as for the monarch or her direct heir to be partisan could cause a constitutional crisis.’
How British royals are expected to keep out of politics
Under Britain’s constitutional monarchy, powers which theoretically belong to the Queen – such as appointing ministers and approving legislation – are exercised in her name by political leaders.
This system means that political decisions are taken by the elected government rather than unelected royals, while keeping the monarchy as a symbol of the British state and its traditions.
The royals’ political neutrality, which the Queen has scrupulously observed for 68 years, is key to maintaining this balance and to preserving the monarchy’s popularity.
A YouGov poll earlier this year found majority support among both Conservative and Labour voters as well as Brexiteers and Europhiles for maintaining the British monarchy.
The Queen’s uncle King Edward VIII had to abdicate in 1936 because the government refused to support his planned marriage to American divorcee Wallis Simpson – fatally compromising his neutrality.
While there is no law explicitly preventing the royal family from voting in UK elections, doing so would be an unacceptable breach of protocol.
The Queen holds weekly conversations with her prime ministers and she is entitled to ‘advise and warn’ them when necessary, but the nature of her advice is never made public.
Even her guarded comment that voters should ‘think very carefully about the future’ ahead of the 2014 Scottish independence referendum was seen as an unusual intervention.
Prince Charles is known for writing lengthy letters to ministers on policy subjects such as agriculture, some of which were made public in 2015.
William and Kate have also spoken out on the environment, launching a prize to tackle climate issues last year.
Princess Diana – who like Harry and Meghan became semi-detached from the monarchy – was known for her campaigning on land mines, once allegedly describing the UK government’s policy as ‘hopeless’.
Her involvement sparked criticism from some Conservative MPs, but the Labour government that took office shortly before her death was more favourable to her campaign.
Mr Jobson said he was ‘increasingly open’ to the idea of stripping the Sussexes of their royal titles for their own benefit and that of the royal family.
‘Frankly, I think it would be better for Harry to withdraw, along with his son, from the line of succession to avoid further confusion,’ he said.
‘By saying they are HRHs and the Duke and Duchess, but not allowed to use the titles, just confuses the situation.
‘With that issue out of the way, Meghan encouraging people to vote is something that would be praised not criticised.
‘She speaks well and has passion for political issues. Without a royal title to hold her back it may set her free to pursue a political career.
‘Ditching his title, and that includes ‘Prince’ would free up Harry too, in the land where he says he is happy and wants to make this life and where titles mean nothing.’
A former palace adviser told The Times that Harry and Meghan’s comments were likely to cause ‘concern’ among royal aides.
‘The political arena is very sensitive for all members of the royal family. You cannot have an apolitical institution, which is what a hereditary monarchy is, and have members of the royal family making even slightly political comments,’ they said.
‘Courtiers would be extremely concerned that if they are going to continue to comment on what could be the most contentious US presidential election in living memory, how difficult could that get?’.
Another source in Palace circles said the couple had ‘crossed a line’ with their intervention on Tuesday.
Harry and Meghan spoke in a video clip which was broadcast as part of TIME’s publication of its annual list of the world’s 100 most influential people.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were included in the 2018 list, but not in this year’s edition.
‘We’re just six weeks out from Election Day and today is National Voter Registration Day,’ said Markle, 39.
‘Every four years we are told the same thing, that this is the most important election of our lifetime. But this one is,’ she said.
‘When we vote, our values are put into action and our voices are heard. Your voice is a reminder that you matter, because you do and you deserve to be heard.’
For his part, Harry said: ‘As we approach this November, it’s vital that we reject hate speech, misinformation and online negativity.’
Harry urged Americans to be careful about what kind of content they consume online.
‘When the bad outweighs the good, for many, whether we realize it or not, it erodes our ability to have compassion and our ability to put ourself in someone else’s shoes. Because when one person buys into negativity online, the effects are felt exponentially. It’s time to not only reflect, but act,’ he said.
Harry also referenced the fact that, because he is not a U.S. citizen, he will not be able to vote in November.
He added that he had never been able to vote in the UK, despite being theoretically eligible in the last five general elections since he turned 18.
Although British law does not explicitly forbid members of the royal family from voting, the expectation that royals remain apolitical is considered sacrosanct, and in practice they never participate in elections, by voting or otherwise.
But since announcing plans to step down as senior royals in January and moving to North America, Meghan and Harry have quietly expanded their involvement in politics as they forge their own path.
Their comments led to criticism from viewers who saw it as a thinly-veiled plea to make Donald Trump a one-term president.
However, a source close to Harry insisted the Duke was not referring to Trump or any other individual.
‘The duke was talking about the tone of debate in the run-up to an election which is already quite febrile,’ they said.
‘He is not talking about any candidate or specific campaign. He is building on a lot of stuff that he’s said before about online communities, how we engage with each other online, rather than specifically making any political points.’
Markle has made her position on the 2020 election clear in a number of appearances in recent weeks, expressing enthusiasm for the Democratic ticket
Harry also appeared to open the door to taking up US citizenship in the future by saying that he was not eligible to vote at ‘this’ election.
His remark leaves open the possibility that he could seek to vote in a future election in the US, which would likely require him to obtain a ‘green card’ and stay in America for at least three years.
A source close to Harry declined to comment on whether his words suggested he would be applying for dual citizenship.
‘They are not working royals. They are private citizens and it’s understandable they want to keep those matters private,’ the source said.
Meghan’s involvement in the video follows a separate intervention last month in which she urged women to turn out at the election.
The Duchess addressed viewers at the When All Women Vote Couch Party – an online event organized by non-profit organization When We All Vote, which was founded by Michelle Obama.
Speaking directly to the volunteers and workers tuned into the summit, Meghan continued: ‘It is fair to say that we are all very grateful for your work because we need it now really more than ever.
‘When I think about voting and why this is so exceptionally important for all of us, I would frame it as: We vote to honor those who came before us and to protect those who will come after us because that’s what community is all about and that’s specifically what this election is all about,’ she said.
This week, feminist activist Gloria Steinem revealed that Markle had joined her in cold-calling Americans and urging them to vote.
Steinem told Access Hollywood: ‘She came home to vote. The first thing we did, and why she came to see me, was we sat at the dining room table where I am right now and we cold-called voters.’
‘Said ‘hello I’m Meg’ and ‘hello I’m Gloria’ and ‘are you going to vote?’ That was her initiative.’
Meghan has also told Steinem she was ‘so excited’ to see fellow mixed-race woman Kamala Harris nominated for vice president, in another strong hint that she is backing the Democratic ticket.
Last month, Markle (left) joined Gloria Steinem for a ‘backyard chat’ in which she made it incredibly clear who she plans to vote for come November
Will Prince Harry take US citizenship? He says he won’t vote in ‘this’ election
Prince Harry appeared to leave the door open to taking up US citizenship in the future by saying that he would not vote in ‘this’ presidential election.
‘This election, I’m not going to be able to vote here in the US,’ the Duke of Sussex said, adding that he had never voted in the UK either.
Harry’s remark left the possibility open that he might seek to vote in a US election in the future, where royal partisanship would not cause a constitutional crisis as it would in the UK.
Meghan and the couple’s one-year-old son Archie are both US citizens, but Harry has not announced any plans to take up dual nationality.
A source told the Sunday Times earlier this year that Harry had not applied for dual citizenship and was not expected to request a green card in the US.
Green cards offer a route to citizenship because the spouse of a US national can apply for naturalisation after being a permanent resident for three years.
Harry’s current immigration status is unclear but a range of visas are available to UK nationals.
Before marrying Prince Harry in 2018, Markle was no stranger to politics, ridiculing then-presidential candidate Donald Trump during a 2016 appearance on The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore.
She said Trump was ‘misogynistic and divisive’ and indicated her support for Hillary Clinton.
Harry is a friend of former president Barack Obama, interviewing him on a guest-edited episode of BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme in 2017.
‘Part of my role and part of my job is to shine a spotlight on issues that need that spotlight, whether it’s people, whether it’s causes, issues, whatever it is,’ Harry said at the time.
‘So I will continue to play my part in society and do my job to the best of my abilities so that I can wake up in the morning and feel energised.’
Despite the Obama friendship, the couple avoided a constitutional row by inviting neither the Obamas nor the Trumps to their 2018 wedding at Windsor Castle.
Earlier this year, two Russian pranksters said they had duped the Duke of Sussex into criticising Trump in a phone call where they posed as climate activist Greta Thunberg.
‘I don’t mind saying this to you guys, I think the mere fact that Donald Trump is pushing the coal industry so big in America, he has blood on his hands,’ Harry allegedly said.
Buckingham Palace did not confirm or deny the authenticity of the call.
Over the past few weeks, Meghan has taken part in multiple interviews and summits – having reportedly grown ‘frustrated’ at her inability to get involved in politics while she was working as a senior royal.
Last month, she joined Gloria for a ‘backyard chat’ in which she made it incredibly clear who she plans to vote for come November, expressing her excitement at seeing a woman of color on the Democratic ticket – Joe Biden’s running mate, Kamala Harris – and explaining that the nomination was particularly meaningful to her because she is biracial.
Over the past few months, Markle has moved to become more politically active and taken part in multiple interviews and summits – having reportedly grown ‘frustrated’ at her inability to get involved in politics while she was working as a senior royal
‘I’m so excited to see that kind of representation,’ she said. ‘You know, for me, being biracial, growing up, whether it was a doll or a person in office, you need to see someone who looks like you in some capacity.
‘As many of us believe, you can only be what you can see. And in the absence of that, how can you aspire to something greater than what you see in your own world? I think maybe now we’re starting to break-through in a different way.’
Meanwhile, she has also taken in voter appeals, at which she made a bold plea to women across the US to take part in the 2020 presidential election, speaking out about the need for ‘change’ at an online voter summit, while telling participants: ‘If we aren’t part of the solution, we are part of the problem.’
Meghan made her stance on the 2020 presidential race clear when she addressed viewers at the When All Women Vote Couch Party – an online event organized by non-profit organization When We All Vote, which was founded by ‘her friend’ Michelle Obama.
Appearing as the opening speaker at the summit, Meghan expressed her ‘excitement’ at taking part, before telling those involved with the organization: ‘We need [your work] now more than ever.’
‘I’m really thrilled that you asked me to be a part of this,’ the mother-of-one began, adding: ‘I think this is such an exceptional time [and I am] happy to be here for my friend Michelle Obama’s When We All Vote, and to kick off the When All Women Vote Couch Party.’
TIME 100: THE FULL LIST
Megan Thee Stallion
Ibram X. Kendi
Astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir
Julie K. Brown
Michael B. Jordan
Bong Joon Ho
Dr Anthony Fauci
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
Mary Kay Henry
Ursula von der Leyen
Jean-Jacques Muyembe Tamfum
Yousef Al Otaiba
Robert F. Smith
General Charles Q. Brown Jr
Black Lives Matter Founders Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi
Sister Norma Pimentel