POLITICS

Congressman Says Harry And Meghan Should Lose Royal Titles For Election 'Interference'

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex encouraged people to vote without naming any candidate or party in the video referenced by GOP Rep. Jason Smith.

Rep. Jason Smith (R-Mo.) is calling on Queen Elizabeth and the British government to rescind Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s titles, weeks after the couple encouraged people to vote in a video for the Time 100.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex did not name a political party or candidate in the clip, and yet Smith said they were “using foreign titles to campaign against President Trump and interfere with our election.” Smith neglected to mention that Markle is a U.S. citizen.

“Today, I asked the British Government to put a stop to it,” Smith wrote on Twitter Friday, directing people to a letter he’d written to Karen Pierce, the U.K. ambassador to the United States.

Smith referenced the British royal family’s tendency toward neutrality in politics and wrote that he was concerned by the Sussexes’ “recent comments regarding the United States Presidential Election, especially given international conversations surrounding foreign interference in our elections and the Duke’s status as a guest of the United States.”

Smith brought up the pair’s Time 100 video appearance in which the couple urged people to vote and to “reject hate speech, misinformation and online negativity.” He specifically referenced Meghan’s comments:

The Duchess of Sussex, whose political opinions are thinly disguised and widely reported, went so far as to label the 2020 election the, “most important election of our lifetime.” These actions represent a serious breach of domestic interference by one of our closest allies.

Smith also added that their titles “prevent the Duke and Duchess from separating comments made in a personal capacity from their official position within the British royal family.”

Therefore, by allowing the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to retain their titles, and these political comments to continue, the British Government is effectively condoning interference in the 2020 United States Presidential Election from officials at the highest level of British establishment.

The letter ends by asks Pierce to convey concerns to Queen Elizabeth and “Her Majesty’s Government.”

A spokesman for Smith told HuffPost that he had not yet heard back from Pierce, though “numerous members of Congress have reached out to Congressman Smith following the release of the letter to offer their support and express their own concern with the actions of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.”

Kathy Ellis, who is running for Congress in Missouri’s 8th District against Smith, called Smith’s comments “unacceptable” Friday on Twitter.  

“In the last hour, we’ve received calls from people all across the country who are deeply concerned about @JasonSmithMO’s comments re: Meghan Markle, and his singling out of her specifically, as a woman of color,” she said. 

In a separate comment to HuffPost, Ellis added that Smith’s “letter today demanding Meghan Markle ― a US Citizen ― not use her platform to remind citizens to vote is a stark reminder, once again, of how out of touch Smith is.”

“While his constituents suffer, he spends his time on partisan talking points and nonsense ventures,” she said. 

Buckingham Palace and the U.K. Embassy in Washington did not return HuffPost’s requests for comment.

In the Time video Meghan and Harry appeared in last month on National Voter Registration Day, the duchess emphasized how close Americans were to Election Day and how important the upcoming election is.

“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,” the duchess added. “Because you do ― and you deserve to be heard.” 

The duke also spoke about voting and asked people to reject “online negativity.” 

“This election I am not going to be able to vote in the U.S. But many of you may not know that I haven’t been able to vote in the U.K. my entire life,” Harry said. “As we approach this November, it’s vital that we reject hate speech, misinformation and online negativity.”

While British royals can vote, the queen must remain politically neutral.

A reporter for the Daily Mail later brought up Harry and Meghan’s comments in a news briefing with Trump.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle chimed in on the U.S. election and essentially encouraged people to vote for Joe Biden,” reporter Nikki Schwab said. “I wanted to get your reaction to that.” 

“I’m not a fan of hers,” Trump says of the former “Suits” actor. He adding that “she probably has heard that,” likely referring to similar comments he’s made before. “But I wish a lot of luck to Harry ― cause he’s going to need it.”

A Sussex spokesperson later told the BBC that the comments were a ‘call for decency,’” and Meghan seemed to allude to Trump’s outrage during an appearance at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit in September. 

“If you look back at anything that I’ve said, it’s really interesting because what ends up being inflammatory it seems is people’s interpretations of it. But if you listen to what I actually say, it’s not controversial,” she said.

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