Stephen Miller, a senior adviser to President Trump, appeared at the White House press briefing on Wednesday to promote Trump’s new plan to drastically limit legal immigration and give preferences to wealthy people who speak English.
While many were turned off by Miller’s antics, it was a hit with the one person that matters: Trump. As a result, Miller is reportedly being considered for a major promotion.
Trump “dug” the performance, “boosting Miller’s stock at a crucial moment,” Axios reports. Now, Miller is in the running to replace Anthony Scaramucci as White House Communications Director. According to the Washington Post, Miller may not be formally given the Communications Director title but “is a candidate to take on the message-shaping responsibilities that usually fall to the communications director.”
Miller is on the rise at the White House thanks to a heated exchange with Acosta where Miller disparaged the poem inscribed at the base of the Statue of Liberty — “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” — as something that was “added later” and therefore not reflective of American ideals. The poem was written to raise money for the statue and was added to the base in 1903.
Miller’s criticism of the sonnet, written by Jewish-American poet Emma Lazarus, echos a popular argument by white nationalists, including former KKK grand wizard David Duke and Richard Spencer. The point can be found repeatedly on white nationalist message boards like Stormfront.org. Miller’s remarks on Wednesday were immediately praised online by racists.
Stephen Miller is effective and tough dealing with the press. https://t.co/0PdjZbnBpg
— Richard ☝Spencer (@RichardBSpencer) August 2, 2017
After Acosta argued that giving people a chance, even if they aren’t wealthy or well-educated, is an American value, Miller called Acosta “ignorant” and accused him of “cosmopolitan bias.” The later insult was a favorite of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin and has since been embraced by white nationalists like David Duke and others.
Miller was a college classmate of Spencer and, according to Spencer, “helped him with fundraising and promotion for an on-campus debate on immigration policy that Spencer organized in 2007, featuring influential white nationalist Peter Brimelow.”
Spencer told Mother Jones he knew Miller “very well,” although he says that Miller is not a white nationalist. (Miller denies a close relationship with Spencer.) “Could Miller and Trump do good things for white Americans? The answer is yes,” Spencer said.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Nick Silverman, a high school classmate of Miller, described Miller’s limitless ambition. “He has a dangerous mind and a dangerous way of thinking. He wants to shift what America is about…This is his entire life. This is everything for him. He’s not going to rest. He won’t rest. He won’t stop… He’s not a Trump shill. He was this way before Trump, before Bannon. He was radicalized way before that,” Silverman said.