Stephen Miller is a volcano in the White House, a dreadnought firing his guns viciously in every direction.
He came to the big show in 2016, as a devotedly white nationalist speechwriter for Donald Trump. He wrote Trump’s gloomy acceptance speech at the 2016 Republican National Convention, a speech that Time magazine described as “midnight in America.” He wrote virtually all of Trump’s campaign speeches with their incendiary, race-baiting insults. He wrote Trump’s darkly malign 16-minute inaugural speech in 2017. He wrote the first draft of Trump’s accusatory letter firing FBI Director James Comey.
At 33, he is Trump’s youngest senior policy adviser. Almost immediately in the White House he helped his white nationalist friend Steve Bannon to craft and roll out the Trump administration’s first try at putting a travel ban on the citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries, a practice run that the federal courts struck down right away.
Like Trump, Miller comes from a rich real estate family. In high school, he was like Richie Rich in the 1994 TV comedy, whose middle initial was a dollar sign. He has been almost fanatical, since his youth, about keeping immigrants out of America. He has been an extreme nationalist since he was 16. Yet his antagonism toward immigrants is deeply ironic. His mother’s family were immigrants, fleeing Europe in 1905, and seeking sanctuary in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.
Their descendants detest what Miller does for Trump, especially his anti-immigration policies. His uncle, David Glosser, of Johnstown, has declared that Miller is the “architect of immigration policies that repudiate the very foundation of our family’s life in this country. My nephew and I must both reflect long and hard on one awful truth: If in the early 20th century the USA had built a wall against poor, desperate, ignorant immigrants of a different religion, like the Glossers, all of us would have gone up the crematoria chimneys with the other six million kinsmen whom we can never know.”
“Why aren’t people out demonstrating about children being thrown in cages?” another relative, Patti Glosser Rudick, wrote last summer when the Trump administration was kidnapping immigrant children from their parents. “Have we become so immune that we’ve stopped caring?”
The combative Miller, a tireless pit-bull, is one of the White House’s most conservative and influential voices in pushing Trump’s hardest-line immigration strategies, including the “zero-tolerance” policy that literally tore babies out of the arms of their mothers. He’s the dark shadow behind Trump’s threat to move detained migrants to sanctuary cities, mostly in Democratic areas. He led the fight to remove top Homeland Security officials, including Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.
In a White House meeting last month he lashed out at almost everyone in the Situation Room. He demanded to know why everyone was dragging their feet on harsh regulations denying welfare benefits to legal immigrants and new rules that would overturn court-ordered protections for migrant children.
Furious, he attacked the blonde and beautiful Nielsen, as well as Homeland Security officials managing border security, presidential safety, counter-terrorism, natural disasters and customs. And afterward, almost everyone in the room got the axe or were pushed out.
When Miller barks, Trump listens.