This weekend, in a slew of truly bizarre interviews, the nation got a new level of confirmation that Stephen Bannon is not the only Steve pulling the strings in the White House. Stephen Miller, a 31 year old Duke graduate who somehow found a way to be an outspoken critic of Maya Angelou while in college, now serves as Donald Trump’s Chief Policy Advisor. Nevermind that he has no advanced experience crafting policies. Nevermind that he, like most of Trump’s cabinet picks, lacks any graduate education on policy or law or international affairs or diplomacy. The most educated man in the White House knows how to perform brain surgeries – so, naturally, they put him in charge of housing.
For the past few months I repeatedly heard that Stephen Miller was a pompous, arrogant, rude, bigot and friend of bigots. This remark from a Vice President at Duke says it all,
“He’s the most sanctimonious student I think I ever encountered,” said John Burness, Duke’s former senior vice president of public affairs and government relations. “He seemed to be absolutely sure of his own views and the correctness of them, and seemed to assume that if you were in disagreement with him, there was something malevolent or stupid about your thinking. Incredibly intolerant.”
It’s deeper than that. People who knew Miller in middle school said he was a bigot back then and expressly ended childhood friendships with Latino students over their ethnicity. “I can’t be your friend any more because you are Latino,” Jason Islas was told by Miller the summer before they began high school. In fact, in an amazing piece of investigative journalism from Univision, they uncovered instance after instance of bigotry, xenophobia, and homophobia from throughout Miller’s time as a student at Santa Monica High School. Because it was simply not that long ago, witnesses and documents have been relatively easy to find.
Students said he ended all relationships with any non-white students that “he used to make fun of the children of Latino and Asian immigrants who did not speak English well.” Not only that, but in his own writings uncovered by Univision, he regularly complained about the rights and privileges of Muslim students, LGBT students, and particularly Latino students – who made up over 30% of his school – the largest school in the district. The very existence of a gay club spooked him. He could not believe that the school invited a Muslim guest speaker.
School Board member Oscar de la Torre shared repeated stories of clashes with the teenage Miller and recalled that the student showed up for a meeting designed to discuss how the school for support black and Latino students. Except Miller showed up to destroy the meeting, de la Torre told Univision Noticias.
“He wanted to sabotage us,” de la Torre said. “He confronted everyone, denying that racism existed. He said that was a thing of the past.”
Are you reading what I’m writing here or what? In the White House right now, serving as Chief Policy Advisor, is a young, inexperienced bigot whose white supremacist roots go back to his childhood. Another student, Natalie Flores, said Miller had “an intense hatred toward people of color, especially toward Latinos.
Yet another student, Charles Gould, who attended elementary through high school with Stephen Miller, called him “an unabashed racist.” Gould continued, “he was constantly making disparaging remarks about the African American, Latino, and Asian students at our school.” Multiple former classmates, including professional baseball player Cody Decker, have all spoken of how Miller was booed off of stage “by 4,000 students” when he was running for class president. In the speech, Miller alluded to how students should not have to pick up their own trash or clear their own cafeteria plates, because the cafeteria workers, who were almost exclusively black and Latino, should do it for them.
And, so it appears that the kid who harassed and belittled immigrants, Muslims, and other students and staff of color, was actually the architect of Donald Trump’s disastrous Muslim ban. Of course he was. Your Chief Policy Advisor should play a chief role in crafting policies, but this man is dangerous. He has no substantive experience crafting policy. Even in his limited roles working for, of all people, Michelle Bachman and Jeff Sessions, he wasn’t crafting policy, he was a communications guy. He has no credible national security experience, but was said by two government officials to be running some National Security Council meetings – which is downright crazy.
Yesterday, the first Trump official resigned in controversy. Let’s keep resisting. We have about 20 more to go.