Yet another of Trump’s top advisors that I have largely ignored is Stephen Miller. But in the past few days he is flying around on my radar and making me very uncomfortable, so it is time to take a closer look at Mr. Miller.
Miller’s career path has not been what I would call illustrious. He served as communications director for former senator and current Attorney General Jeff Sessions, which certainly does nothing to raise him in my esteem. He was also press secretary for former Representative Michele Bachmann (former Idiot of the Week and also America’s #1 Bimbo), which again, is not a feather in his cap. And now, Mr. Miller is a “senior advisor” to Donald Trump.
Though raised by two liberal, Democratic parents, he became a conservative while in high school after reading a book, Guns, Crime, and Freedom, by National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre. While still in high school, he started appearing on conservative talk radio shows and writing letters to editors. While attending Duke University, he criticized poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou, accusing her of “racial paranoia”, and also established a relationship with white supremacist, anti-Semitic Richard Spencer, about whom I have written before. A former advisor at Duke later said of Miller that he, “seemed to assume that if you were in disagreement with him, there was something malevolent or stupid about your thinking — incredibly intolerant.” Sound familiar?
Which brings us to present day. As ‘Senior Advisor’, Miller was not subject to confirmation by the senate, and therefore officially began his new position on January 20th. Until late last week, Miller kept a fairly low profile, or perhaps was simply overshadowed by Trump’s immigration ban and all the controversy it entailed, as well as the contentious confirmation hearings for DeVos and Sessions, among others. But late last week, his name started appearing more often.
When the infamous ‘immigration ban’, banning people from entering the country from seven specific, Middle-Eastern, primarily Muslim countries was first signed into law, I was fairly certain its author was none other than Steve ‘Breitbart’ Bannon. Turns out that Stephen Miller, Jeff Sessions and Bannon all corroborated on the order. Three bloomin’ racists putting their big heads together … imagine the possibilities.
Once the travel ban was halted by U.S. District Judge James Robart, and the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals refused to reinstate the ban, Miller adamantly defended Trump’s crude and hateful criticism of the judge. (It should be noted that, emboldened by Trump’s very unprofessional tweets condemning Judge Robart, the judge has been a target of many threats, including one referring to Robart as “dead man walking”. This, people, is the president we elected.) But back to Miller … he appeared yesterday morning on the Sunday morning talk show circuit, including an interview on ABC News’ This Week with George Stephanopoulos where he told so many lies that The Washington Post wrote an entire fact-checking article disproving nearly everything he said on the program. Other questions he simply averted, as is the standard operating procedure for the Trump team. Alternative facts and non-answers. Click here for the transcript of the entire interview. He later did another interview on CBS’ Face the Nation where he spouted more of the same.
Miller defends Trump’s verbal (Twitter) attacks on Judge Robart and the appeals court, supports and falsely claims knowledge of Trump’s assertion of massive voter fraud, and of the travel ban says that “all options are on the table”. Despite, or perhaps because of his lies and evasions, Trump was proud of his boy Stephen, tweeting, “Congratulations Stephen Miller- on representing me this morning on the various Sunday morning shows. Great job!” just minutes after the segment aired.
CNN considers that Miller may be the most powerful player in the White House, and I think that, in conjunction with Steve Bannon, that may well be true. Certainly he is, with his racist views and links to white supremacists, one of the most frightening. Glenn Thrush of the New York Times said, “The (Steve) Bannon cluster in the White House is moving full speed ahead in part because they don’t feel like they have a lot of time, and I think if you look at the backlash against the travel ban, they may not have that much time.”
The most immediately concerning thing to me is that Trump, Bannon, Miller and others seem to believe that the courts have overstepped their bounds in placing constitutionality over the power of the president. The appeals court last week asked repeatedly for some evidence that there was a real threat of danger from the seven countries listed in the ban, but the Justice Department, which was defending the administration’s position, could not provide such evidence. If the Trump administration ultimately has their way on this issue, it may set a powerful precedent for future cases where Trump and his minions make decisions that are unconstitutional and not in the best interest of the nation. If the court’s power is reduced and the power of the executive office increased, we will have taken the first step toward an autocracy … a step that may be nearly impossible to reverse. Along with Steve Bannon and Jeff Sessions, Stephen Miller may complete a triumvirate that is destined to change the values of this nation.