Stephen Miller, the 32-year-old White House adviser, has ignited a political firestorm in the United States as the Trump administration's immigration policy of separating migrant children from their parents and detentions in cages is putting pressure on the nation.
Miller himself is reportedly happy with how things are going, which led one fellow staffer to equate his behavior to that of the Nazi SS, Vanity Fair reported Wednesday.
"Stephen actually enjoys seeing those pictures at the border," an outside White House adviser said. "He's a twisted guy, the way he was raised and picked on. There's always been a way he's gone about this. He's Waffen-SS."
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Both, Melania Trump and Laura Bush made the rare political move of speaking out against the policy - joining the UN human rights chief, who called it "unconscionable." Even stalwart Trump supporters like Bill O'Reilly have admitted defeat on the issue, writing on Twitter, "The Trump administration will not win on this one and it should reverse course today."
Miller told The New York Times over the weekend that the Trump administration’s policy of separating migrant families was a "simple decision." Miller’s comments has showed him as the key force pushing Trump’s hardline immigration policy at a time when the White House is increasingly divided amid the growing public outrage over the policy.
"No nation can have the policy that whole classes of people are immune from immigration law or enforcement," Miller told the Times in an interview. "It was a simple decision by the administration to have a zero tolerance policy for illegal entry, period. The message is that no one is exempt from immigration law." The White House had hinted that it would go down that path last year, but U.S. President Donald Trump backtracked.
Researchers have pointed out the hypocrisy of Miller's position as his family came to the United States as Jewish refugees from Europe. His great-grandfather Nison Miller was even reportedly denied legal asylum in the United States, but made it into the country regardless. “Order of Court Denying Petition” is the title of a government form dated “14th November 1932,” dug up by researchers proving Miller's family history as an illegal immigrant.
Miller, who grew up in a liberal Jewish home in Santa Monica, California, was Trump’s chief speechwriter throughout the campaign, a role he has been tapped to continue in the White House. Miller is known for his ability to provoke his audience - he often stirred up the crowds at campaign rallies before Trump would take the stage.
Miller is an old friend of the controversial white nationalist leader Richard Spencer, Mother Jones reported in December 2017. The two met while they were students at Duke University, where both of them members of the conservative student union. Spencer told the magazine that Miller "is not alt-right or a white nationalist or an identitarian." But he added: "Could Miller and Trump do good things for white Americans? The answer is yes."
In February 2018, 17 Jewish groups, including the left-leaning J Street, called on the White House to dismiss Miller as its senior policy adviser.
Organizations, including American Jewish World Service, Americans for Peace Now and T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, issued the call in an open letter they sent Thursday to White House chief of staff, Gen. John Kelly. The letter was spearheaded by the National Council of Jewish Women.
The co-authors wrote that Miller, who favors an immigration reform he said would benefit applicants who would assimilate more easily into American society than others, has "extreme viewpoints and advocacy of racist policies."
Miller and Steve Bannon, the former executive chair of Breitbart News, authored Trump's controversial inaugural address have been at the forefront of Trump's populist messaging. Miller, who wrote Trump's speech at the Republican National Convention, was accused of promoting a dystopian view of America, a theme carried through in Trump's inaugural address, in which Trump referred to crime, poverty and the disappearing manufactuing base in the country as "American carnage."
Before joining the campaign, Miller worked as communications director for then Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, one of the first Republicans to come out in support of Trump. As an aide to Sessions, Miller was instrumental in defeating a proposed bill for immigration reform.
In a lengthy profile of Miller published in Politico last June, his old boss compared him to Karl Rove, the legendary political adviser of former U.S. President George W. Bush.
Prior to his stint with Sessions, Miller worked as a press secretary for two other Republicans – Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and Congressman John Shadegg.
The events of September 11 are thought to have been a major influence on Miller’s political ideas – in particular his views on Islam and immigration. A few months after the attacks, while he was still a high school junior, Miller wrote a letter to his local newspaper complaining that political correctness had gone awry at his southern California school.
"That is why we do nothing for American holidays but everything for Mexican holidays," he wrote. "That is why history teachers denounce the U.S. as wickedly imperialistic, some supplementing standard history texts with something comfortably more liberal.
"That is why teachers insult and demean the president. That is why we invited a Muslim leader to the school to explain the splendor of Islam, but no such proclamation was ever made about America."