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Is Stephen Miller a white nationalist?
Since no official definition of “white nationalist” exists, it’s tough to say, but what we do know is that Stephen Miller has long-standing ties to leaders who have expressly advocated for white control of our political system and that Miller has repeatedly advocated for many of the policies supported by white nationalists while serving as a senior advisor in Donald Trump’s White House.
If your definition of a white nationalist is “someone who hangs around white nationalists, shares their views, and advances their policies,” the answer seems pretty clear.
White nationalists are most often associated with white supremacy or white separatist ideologies. White nationalist groups include the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Confederates, and neo-Nazis. But the most common definitions provided by experts at the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and the Anti-Defamation League include any group that believes in the inferiority of nonwhites and opposition to multiculturalism.
One of these experts, Mark Potok, senior fellow at SPLC, says the term white nationalism means white domination.
“White nationalism is the idea that whites should dominate,” he said, and believers think that policies that jibe with the idea should be supported, such as opposing nonwhite immigration.
Potok also points out that contemporary white nationalists “tend to be less about ethnic slurs, less about Nazi slurs, tend to speak more academic language.”
According to this definition, Stephen Miller should be considered a white nationalist. And if you read white nationalist forums online, they all tend to agree with my assessment.
Stephen Miller’s connections to the white nationalist movement in America are well-documented.
Miller has long-standing links to the David Horowitz Freedom Center (DHFC), which is designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) for its record of demonizing Muslims. In 2006, Miller participated in Horowitz’s first Academic Freedom Conference in Washington, D.C. A year later, Miller again spoke at the event, which brought together elected officials and students.
Miller has also associated with the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), which SPLC designates as a hate group. CIS was founded by white nationalist John Tanton.
Recently, the Center for American Progress and the Southern Poverty Law Center hosted a press call discussing Stephen Miller’s connection to white nationalism.
Most importantly, the call with CAP and SPLC call featured Peter Laufer, James N. Wallace Chair of Journalism at the University of Oregon, who worked directly with Richard Spencer and Stephen Miller on an immigration event sponsored by the Duke Conservative Union in 2007 featuring white nationalist Peter Brimelow.
Peter Laufer pointed out that Miller and Spencer “did everything for the duration of the debate.”
Laufer went on to say, “This was not a one-off relationship based on their working closely on the debate and further conversations. My expenses were paid by Duke but did not come in a timely fashion. As a result, I was forced to be in email correspondence over a period of several months which showed the ongoing and close relationship of the two.”
Spencer has publicly admitted that he wanted to keep his relationship with Miller quiet. “I knew [Miller] very well when I was at Duke. But I am kind of glad no one’s talked about this, because I don’t want to harm Trump,” he said. Spencer also said he mentored Miller. The two attended Duke University together in the mid-2000s.
Of course Miller has aggressively disputed Spencer’s account of their relationship and has claimed, “I have absolutely no relationship with Mr. Spencer. I completely repudiate his views, and his claims are 100 percent false.”
However, as further research demonstrates, Miller’s publicly expressed views don’t differ that much for the views of many prominent white nationalist leaders.
During an appearance at a White House press conference in August of 2017, Miller expressed several views often circulated on white nationalist websites and among leaders of the movement.
At the briefing, Miller was asked about whether Trump’s new immigration policy was in keeping with the spirit of the poem inscribed at the base of Statue of Liberty which reads:
Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, Send these, the homeless, tempest tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door.
Miller was angered by the question and stated that the poem on the Statue of Liberty was “added later” and therefore, does not reflect American values towards immigrants.
In response, one white nationalist responded, “Stephen Miller just echoed us on the Statue of Liberty.”
As ThinkProgress has pointed out, white nationalists David Duke (former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan) has devoted an entire chapter in one of his books to Emma Lazarus, the author of the poem, and the Statue of Liberty. Duke says Lazarus was “anxious to turn America into a refuge for the castoffs of the world.”
Also during the heated exchange, Miller accused the press of having a “cosmopolitan bias.” The response to the term, seldom been heard in American political discourse, was largely mockery and confusion.
As Jeff Greenfield quickly pointed out after the exchange, “cosmopolitan” is a term that was used by Soviet dictator Josef Stalin to purge the culture of dissident voices and that nationalist political figures across Europe today are still making the same kind of arguments today.
Rebekah Entralgo of ThinkProgress highlighted the fact that white nationalist groups often use the term “cosmopolitan” to attack those they see as “globalists” and that the white nationalist website Stormfront has its own section on the philosophy page devoted to the idea of “cosmopolitanism.”
Stephen Miller is obsessed with demographics and all of his major policy achievements, from the Muslim travel ban to the “zero tolerance” child separation program, have focused on implementing policies that keep new immigrants out while expelling those already here.
These policies include:
Heidi Beirich, Intelligence Project Director at the Southern Poverty Law Center, recently said:
Stephen Miller has used his position in the Trump White House to push through an anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim agenda that has received praise from hate and extremist groups. His bigoted views have been a driving force behind hateful policies, including the Muslim ban and the repugnant policy that has separated children from their parents at the border.
Miller’s troubling ties to white nationalist Richard Spencer and anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant hate groups, including the Center for Immigration Studies and the David Horowitz Freedom Center, show the direct line to power that extremists have in this administration.
Last fall, Miller delivered to hardliners in the House Freedom Caucus a set of “policy principles” that Miller thinks should be added to any deal that protects Dreamers. The principles, leaked to the press, were accurately described by Glenn Thrush and Yamiche Alcindor of the New York Times as a “wish list rather than a set of demands.”
Church World Service, a religiously-based group that advocates for refugees in the United States, referred to Miller’s objectives as a “white supremacist wish list.”
Miller was also a strong supporter of the RAISE Act, the bill introduced by Sens. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and David Perdue (R-GA), which would curb the immigration of nonwhite Americans under the guise of bringing in better-educated workers. The bill was applauded by many members of the white nationalist community.
“This is the sort of legal immigration reform that we’ve been calling for for a long time,” said Ira Mehlman, a Federation of American Immigration Reform (FAIR) spokesman. People should be let in based on merit, not family ties, he said. “Anybody can find something to quibble with in anything, but… it looks like the perfect bill,” he added. SPLC has designated FAIR as a hate group.
The bill also has the support of white nationalist William Johnson, who was briefly a Trump delegate. The bill is “a viable first step in changing the nation’s immigration policies,” he said in an email.
Richard Spencer said the bill “sounds awesome.”