An email leak has revealed the unquestionably racist ideals of White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller, per Hatewatch, a division of the SPLC.
The emails were exchanged between Miller and Breitbart News, the radically right outlet for which Steve Bannon, former White House Chief Strategist, worked. The emails were sent through 2015 and 2016, racing up to Trump’s inevitable election, and the conversations display clear anti-immigrant ideology that was later adopted by the Trump administration. Miller proposes ideas such as arrest quotas for undocumented immigrants, an executive order to ban immigration from Iran, Syria, Libya, Yemen and Somalia (all majority Muslim nations), and a policy of family separations at refugee resettlement facilities that is seen as one of the most barbaric actions of Trump’s presidency.
The emails were leaked by Katie McHugh, a former editor for Breitbart from April 2014 to June 2017. Given Breitbart’s platform, McHugh associated with white nationalists during her time with the outlet. In a moment of irony, McHugh was fired from Breitbart after a series of anti-Muslim tweets, publicizing the not-so-secret views of the news publication. McHugh has since renounced the far right while revealing Miller’s connections with them.
Miller’s racist views can be seen through the policies he advocates for, but also through the material he absorbs. Emails show that Miller sent a story from VDARE, a white nationalist site, to McHugh on Oct. 23, 2015. VDARE supports the “great replacement” myth, which is the ludicrous belief that nonwhite people are methodically wiping white people out of existence. Steve Sailer, writer of the VDARE article Miller shared, believes in race science, a colonial concept that has long been debunked.
On Sept. 6, 2015, Miller recommended Camp of the Saints, a racist French novel by Jean Raspail, to Breitbart for review. The book is popular amongst white nationalists and neo-Nazis, as it is a story of white genicide that latches onto the “great replacement” myth and spins it into a troubling narrative that contains violent and sexualized ideas about refugees. Regardless of whether Trump has read Camp of the Saints, the same notions about refugees can be heard in just about any of his speeches. He notoriously called Mexican immigrants “drug dealers” numerous times during the 2016 election, and, on Sept. 9 of this year, said, “I don’t want to allow people that weren’t supposed to be in the Bahamas to come into the United States, including some very bad people and some very bad gang members and some very, very bad drug dealers.” The Trump administration denied temporary protected status to residents of the Bahamas fleeing from the destruction of Hurricane Dorian.
It’s clear Miller has no sympathy for refugees, but that is no surprise considering the administration he works for. Another unflinchingly racist and unsympathetic take of his goes back to June 2015, when white nationalist Dylann Roof murdered nine black churchgoers in Charleston, S.C. The shooting brought up the typical debate about gun control that unfortunately went nowhere, but also sparked conversation about the Confederate flag that led to such products being pulled from Amazon.com and other retailers’ sites and stores.
Miller responded to this event in an email to McHugh with the subject line “defies modern comprehension” with statistics about the deaths of Confederate soldiers, stating, “22.6 percent of Southern men who were between the ages of 20 and 24 in 1860 lost their lives because of the war.” Not a word of the email suggests anything close to sympathy for the nine victims of Roof’s hate crime. Of course, we know why Miller is defending the Confederacy, but if he wants to talk numbers, we can gladly bring them up. According to the UN Refugee Agency, there are approximately 70.8 million forcibly displaced people worldwide, vastly towering over the number of Confederate (again, Confederate) soldiers killed in the Civil War over a hundred years ago. If Miller’s logic had anything to do with honoring, as he stresses, young lives, he would advocate for the most powerful country in the world to do something for the people, including many children, who are alive today and in need of aid.
Of course, that’s not Miller’s M.O., and wasn’t even before this email leak. In all of the messages concerning hate crimes, refugees and immigrants, there’s not a single word said about nonwhites or foreign-born people that isn’t hateful. What’s additionally troubling is that Miller has a reputation for favoring phone calls over emails, as The Washington Post reported in August. What was said, planned and discussed on those lines probably don’t show up in a transcript, and, unfortunately, are probably much more sinister than the information that came to light today.
Miller reportedly worked with Richard Spencer while an undergrad at Duke, and the two have been tied to VDARE founder Peter Brimelow since then, so while the emails themselves are not new, they are rooted in beliefs Miller has had openly and for a long, long time. Miller’s ideas “defy modern comprehension” to, hopefully, the majority of Americans, but in the context of this administration, they are unsurprising.
“What Stephen Miller sent to me in those emails has become policy at the Trump administration,” McHugh told Hatewatch.