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How Much Hate Can Trump and the GOP Tolerate?

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Calls for White Nationalist Stephen Miller’s Removal Are Escalating

As the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) releases more details today of email exchanges between White House aide Stephen Miller and Breitbart that clearly illustrate Miller’s affinity for white supremacy and xenophobia, calls on the President to fire his white nationalist aide are escalating.

In a searing letter from the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (LCCR) to the President yesterday, a group of 59 organizations said “Supporters of white supremacists and neo-Nazis should not be allowed to serve at any level of government, let alone in the White House.” The letter goes on to say:

Stephen Miller has stoked bigotry, hate, and division with his extreme political rhetoric and policies throughout his career. The recent exposure of his deep-seated racism provides further proof that he is unfit to serve and should immediately leave his post.

Stephen Miller represents white supremacy, violent extremism, and hate — all ideologies that are antithetical to the fundamental values that guide our democracy. Allowing him to remain a White House advisor is a betrayal of our national ideals of justice, inclusion, and fairness. We call on you to halt your own hateful actions and rhetoric and remove all hate enthusiasts from the administration.

In a column for the New York Times, Michelle Goldberg digs into Miller’s emails further and mentions the LCCR letter. Goldberg also quotes Jonathan Greenblatt, National Director and CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, who says the revelations about Miller’s ties to white supremacist ideology may not be surprising to many, but they are still significant.

So it’s not a shock to learn about the roots of Miller’s ideology. There’s a difference, however, between knowing something and proving it. “The evidence is incontrovertible,” Jonathan Greenblatt, head of the Anti-Defamation League, told me of Miller’s white nationalist associations. “It’s no longer speculation. It’s now been substantiated.” He said bluntly: “Stephen Miller must resign.”

Golberg goes on to write:

Though the revelations about Miller aren’t surprising, it’s important that they not be swept away by the torrent of other news, lest we admit that even the degraded standards of 2018 no longer apply. “This is a smoking gun,” said Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has been leading the call for Miller’s resignation in Congress, adding, “We didn’t know this, because if we did, we would have demanded his resignation much earlier, and in a much more forceful way.”

[…] Ocasio-Cortez sees a possibility for protests. “It’s really just a matter of sticking to it and not allowing this to fall out of the media cycle,” she said. “This is something that I personally am committed to. This is a really big deal.” I hope she’s right. If she’s not, it will show us how much hate we’ve learned to tolerate.

The entire column, “Stephen Miller Is a White Nationalist. Does It Matter?,” by Michelle Goldberg, is here.

In a column for CNN, Raul A. Reyes, an attorney and member of the USA Today Board of Contributors, takes on two important points: the argument that attacks on Miller are anti-semetic in nature and that, because it is unlikely that Trump will fire Miller, all of this is much ado about nothing. Reyes writes:

Miller is unique because, as officials have come and gone through the revolving door of the Trump administration, he has remained. That must end, now that we know the motivation behind his heartless and often ineffective policies. Consider that the emails analyzed by the SPLC were not from long ago; they were sent between 2015 and 2016. Nor has Miller denied their authenticity.

The Trump administration response to the SPLC report has been telling. One White House official told an Axios reporter that “This is clearly a form of anti-Semitism to levy these attacks against a Jewish staffer.” Under this flawed line of defense, any criticism of a Jewish public figure would be off limits.

Not only is this illogical, it is insulting to the genuine victims of anti-Semitism. White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham told the Washington Post via email that she had not seen the report, but called the SPLC “an utterly-discredited, long-debunked far-left smear organization.” What’s notable is that no one has denied that Miller is a racist, or suggested that his views had evolved over the last several years.

Reyes argues, the revelations about Miller could have consequences for other Republicans:

Every Republican member of Congress should be asked on the record whether they believe Miller should stay or go.

Congressional Republicans have precedent for dealing with such indefensible comments. In January, House Republicans finally punished Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) for his remarks on white nationalism. He was removed from his committee assignments and the House voted to condemn his racist statements. He was denounced by GOP leaders, including Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, who suggested King find “another line of work,” and Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), who said he should quit. So where do McConnell and Romney stand on Stephen Miller’s future in the Trump administration?

True, the President can choose whomever he likes to work in his White House, and Trump himself has a history of bigoted remarks. That doesn’t make Miller’s white nationalism acceptable. Those who favor conservative immigration policies ought to realize that Miller is likely to become an increasing liability and distraction for the administration.

The entire Reyes column for CNN, “Stephen Miller has to go,” is here.