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  1. #1
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    White House aide Miller targeted in backlash over family separations

    White House aide Miller targeted in backlash over family separations

    President Donald Trump’s former speechwriter has been the architect of his most controversial policies but so far has faced few consequences.

    06/21/2018 07:09 PM EDT

    “Everyone in DHS circles thinks he is a nuisance and a zealot, with no idea what the operational impact of his policies are,” one former Homeland Security official said of White House senior adviser Stephen Miller. | Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

    Stephen Miller, the architect of President Donald Trump’s hard-line immigration policies, was noticeably absent from public view this week as the White House first vociferously defended and then caved on separating migrant children from their parents.

    That wasn’t an accident. Among White House insiders, there is a sense that the president’s senior adviser for policy is a bad front man for the issue he’s most passionate about. Miller stayed entirely out of the spotlight during days of mounting political pressure, though behind the scenes he visited Capitol Hill on Tuesday night along with Trump to sell House Republicans on immigration legislation.

    While other White House aides, like national security adviser John Bolton and National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow, are prized by Trump for their smooth defense of his policies on television, Miller is the opposite, valued as a source of ideas that the president believes appeal to his base. That includes not just the “zero-tolerance” immigration enforcement stance that triggered the family separations but the 2017 travel ban targeting visitors from predominantly Muslim countries, which generated a cascade of litigation for the young administration.

    It’s hard to overstate Miller’s influence on the administration’s positions on immigration, according to interviews with a dozen current and former administration officials and Republicans close to the White House. Immediately after signing his executive order Wednesday suspending family separation at the border, Trump took his former campaign speechwriter-turned-immigration czar along for the ride on Air Force One to a rally in Minnesota.

    But the backlash over the policy has opened cracks in Miller’s support network on Capitol Hill and among Republicans both inside and outside the White House, who have viewed the separation of migrant families as a huge political and policy misstep for the White House — and, for some, as a moral lapse.

    “He led the president down a path that again ended in disaster,” said one Republican congressional staffer. “The Muslim ban and the immigration executive order are things that have activated both sides of the aisle and caused widespread pushback and disgust. I just think the president should think twice before following in his lead in the future on these issues.”

    To many in Washington, it seemed wild that the originator of Trump’s immigration policy had so aptly wriggled out of becoming the face of it. And it reminded many of the way Miller coauthored the travel ban only to later shift the blame for that slapdash executive order onto White House lawyers who failed to properly vet it.

    “It is amazing that Miller is getting a free ride. He urged the president to pull out of DACA, and now he’s done this immigration policy,” said one former administration official. “Miller managed the blame the travel ban on the White House lawyers for not executing it right. Now he is blaming Congress for the immigration policy. Miller is very much like the president — just deny, deny, deny.”

    Republican Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) called for Miller to be fired in a tweet on Thursday afternoon. “The President should fire Stephen Miller now,” Coffman tweeted. “This is a human rights mess. It is on the President to clean it up and fire the people responsible for making it.”

    For Democrats, Miller has come to encapsulate the most hated policy decisions of the Trump administration.

    “I don’t think that most Americans understand that a 33-year-oldindividual with connections to white supremacists is actually crafting policies that are going to literally destroy our country and what we stand for,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington, one of the first Democratic lawmakers to visit the child detention centers. “I have demanded that Stephen Miller be fired. He should not be in the White House.”

    Miller and the White House press office did not respond to requests for comment.

    After taking a backstage role during the campaign and serving as the key policy adviser across issues, Miller — who is, in fact, only 32 — made a series of poorly received Sunday show appearances in February 2017 defending the travel ban as well as Trump’s overblown claims about crowd size at his inauguration. He won points inside the White House for a combative turn at the briefing podium last summer to introduce his proposal for a points-based immigration system to replace the existing visa lottery.

    He was escorted off the CNN set in January after unloading on anchor Jake Tapper over questions about internal White House drama — an interview Trump applauded on Twitter.

    Miller has nevertheless proved himself to be a deft operator in a White House known for backbiting, said several current and former administration officials. He does not unnecessarily pick fights with others. He has purposely kept a very low profile, and he’s stuck to a narrow lane of developing immigration policy across agencies and the White House Domestic Policy Council, even though his title of senior adviser for policy suggests a far broader role.

    He’s also well-liked inside the White House, staffers said. Chief of staff John Kelly, a like-minded immigration hawk, even had Miller over to his house for Thanksgiving last fall.

    In addition to exhibiting extreme loyalty to Trump, Miller is a workhorse. He consistently puts in 18-hour days at the White House, eschewing any social life, said one former administration official. He works weekends and holidays and always makes himself available to travel with the president, giving him face time with Trump at odd hours, colleagues said.

    Miller also speaks to the president in an effusive fashion, constantly telling Trump that the media are treating him unfairly. He frequently tells the president that his speeches or executive orders are groundbreaking or that he’ll be the most consequential president ever, according to a Republican close to the White House.

    For years, he’s been pushing to drive down the number of immigrants entering the country — legally as well as illegally — dating back to his days as a top adviser to then-Sen. Jeff Sessions, now Trump’s attorney general. Back then, Miller and Sessions held what many Republican lawmakers then considered fringe positions.

    One former Department of Homeland Security official who remembers Miller from those days said officials inside the agency considered him a “nut.”

    “Everyone in DHS circles thinks he is a nuisance and a zealot, with no idea what the operational impact of his policies are,” the official added.

    Yet, as public outrage over the separation of children grew to a crescendo this week, it was Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen who took center stage as the de facto defender of Miller’s policy, taking reporters’ questions at a tense Monday briefing and then standing beside Trump as he backtracked and signed his executive order.

    The move was a climbdown from Trump’s previous position that only congressional legislation can stop parents and kids from being split up by border authorities. But the chaos of the separations — which involved warehousing children in former big-box stores — succeeded in shifting public debate so that the administration’s fallback position — jailing migrant kids indefinitely with their parents while they wait for court dates — now seems like a more humane option.

    And even as the administration said that it was prepared to stop separating families and children, Miller had other under-the-radar plans in the works including proposed agency rules that would enact aggressive immigration policies ahead of the 2018 midterms.

    Some Republicans say they’re worried that these moves, especially any that involve children, might generate additional unanticipated blowback.

    “When you’re on the campaign, you don’t have to set policy. You just have to talk about it,” said a third Republican close to the White House. “When Miller got to the White House, people realized he had limitations because of how detailed and intricate White House policymaking is. He can’t be in charge of everything anymore.”
    Last edited by ALIPAC; 06-22-2018 at 09:46 AM.

    "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing" ** Edmund Burke**

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  2. #2
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    After President Trump fired Bannon, Stephen Miller was the only adviser left on Trump's staff that we knew was our friend and a true advocate of the American people.

    "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing" ** Edmund Burke**

    Support our FIGHT AGAINST illegal immigration & Amnesty by joining our E-mail Alerts at

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