By: Asawin Suebsaeng, White House Reporter for The Daily Beast
The Southern Poverty Law Center’s blog Hatewatch, recently exposed a trove of leaked emails showing how Stephen Miller spent years peddling vile white nationalist conspiracies and spreading xenophobic propaganda to justify violent immigration policy.
In these emails, Miller trafficked stories from white nationalist websites promoting violent conspiracy theories, including everything from eugenics to “white genocide.” He panicked about confederate monuments being taken down in the wake of Dylann Roof’s murderous rampage killing nine parishoners in the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. And he praised a racist immigration plan from 1924 that was backed by Adolf Hitler.
Stephen Miller is the mastermind of Donald Trump’s policy of family separation. As the architect of Donald Trump’s immigration policy, Miller built a system to keep people who do not look like him out of the U.S.
President Donald Trump’s senior policy adviser didn’t need any reassurances from his boss or his colleagues that his job was safe. Practically everyone in the building already knew it. “Stephen is not going anywhere,” a senior White House official said on Tuesday afternoon, shortly after the story started going viral. “The president has his back.”
Since then, six other senior Trump administration officials with knowledge of Miller’s standing with the president and top staffers have all individually told The Daily Beast that the story did not endanger Miller’s position, or change Trump’s favorable view of him. Two of them literally laughed at the mere suggestion that the Hatewatch exposé could have toppled or hobbled the top Trump adviser.
Katie McHugh, a disgraced former Breitbart staffer who provided Hatewatch with the trove of emails, told the blog that Miller had personally flagged for her in July 2015 an American Renaissance “article about crime statistics and race.” American Renaissance is a white-supremacist website beloved by fascists and alt-right adherents. McHugh added, “I responded in the affirmative because I had read it. Many of us [on the far-right] had read it. I remember being struck by the way he called it ‘AmRen,’ the nickname.”
The Hatewatch story—and a follow-up, published last week—may have depicted, in graphic detail, the depths of Miller’s racist intellectual pedigree. The leaked emails between Miller and the pro-Trump website Breitbart show just how aggressively he was using his former position—while working in the office of then-Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL)—to promote the genre of extremist, far-right agitprop that Team Trump will sometimes officially disavow. Still, the extent of Miller’s views and xenophobia have been on full public display for years now. Just look at his record and trail of policymaking in the Trump era.
Since 2015, Miller has been instrumental in the honing of Trump’s anti-immigration fervor and racist rhetoric into actual policy. In the summer of that year, Trump’s presidential campaign put out a much-touted immigration policy “white paper,” which was released after receiving months of criticism that the campaign was all bluster and hadn’t detailed any real policies. As The Daily Beast previously reported, Miller was the principal author behind the white paper—even though he hadn’t formally joined the campaign yet.
In the years since, Miller has been a main driver, if not the architect, behind some of President Trump’s most brutal policies and proposals, including the “Muslim ban” and the separation of immigrant families. Miller routinely advocates for dramatically cutting legal immigration, as well as imposing lower and lower caps on the number of refugees Washington will allow into the country.
He pushed for a purge of top administration officials and fellow immigration hawks deemed insufficiently hardline. And toward the end of Trump’s first year in office, Miller successfully operated behind the scenes to kill a deal that the president had tentatively struck with Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill to shield DREAMers from deportation.
In his past, working as a communications staffer for Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, he was widely known as a prominent source, ideological fellow traveler, and—as some would joke—“assignment editor” for conservative media outlets opposing the Obama-era momentum toward bipartisan immigration reform. The Obama years, of course, closed out without the passage of a comprehensive immigration reform law, in large part due to politicians, operatives, and activists like Miller.
Several Democratic leaders, Senators and House members have called for Stephen Miller’s resignation or dismissal for his openly racist comments and problematic advice on immigration policies.
Progressive organizations in Alabama are planning to confront former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, now that he is running to reclaim his Senate seat, for employing Stephen Miller and recommending him for service in the Trump White House.