Of the growing list of questionable appointments that Donald Trump has made since winning the election in November, Stephen Miller had, until recently, flown under the radar. This, despite being named Chief Policy Adviser at the tender age of 31 and having no experience delivering policies or even any graduate education on the topic.
On Sunday however, he was thrust into the national spotlight. His role? Liar-in-chief.
- Miller’s lie laden performances.
- Trump’s power ‘will not be questioned’?
- A troubling background
- What is the aim of the continuous lies?
- Trump’s false friends
— Morning Joe (@Morning_Joe) February 13, 2017
Stephen Miller made a series of appearances on Sunday morning news shows in the US. It must be said, he made quite an impression. “George, it is a fact and you will not deny it, that there are massive numbers of non-citizens in this country, who are registered to vote. That is a scandal.” The echoing of Trump’s unsupported claims of voter fraud had the host, George Stephanopoulos, demanding evidence. None was provided.
He was also questioned by Stephanopoulos as to whether he was “calling into question the legitimacy” of the judges who had temporarily halted the executive order responsible for the travel ban chaos.
“I’m calling into question the accuracy of the ruling… For instance, the district judge in Seattle said that there was no indication of terrorism from these seven countries and our country. That is a factually false statement.” He then went on to list the ‘terroristic’ activities people with links to those countries had committed.
Fact checkers at the Washington Post found that the links to terrorism he alluded to were tenuous at best, involving “passport fraud, visa fraud and making fraudulent claims to federal investigators.”
Statements worthy of a dictatorship?
Questioning the authority of judges with questionable statements would to many people, let alone the judiciary, seem offensive. Yet, it was his comments at the end of the interview that drew the most concern, with their overt authoritarian rhetoric.
“The end result of this, though, is that our opponents, the media and the whole world will soon see as we begin to take further actions, that the powers of the president to protect our country are very substantial and will not be questioned.”
It did not take long for Trump to publicly approve of the performance of his young mouthpiece, tweeting “Congratulations Stephen Miller- on representing me this morning on the various Sunday morning shows. Great job!”
Congratulations Stephen Miller- on representing me this morning on the various Sunday morning shows. Great job!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 12, 2017
Miller’s controversial history
His prominence in the media over the recent days has prompted a number of disparaging accounts of Miller’s behavior to surface. A member of staff at Duke, where Miller studied was less than enthused about his proclivity for sensible discussion and debate:
“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.”
— charles gould (@middleKidGould) February 12, 2017
It has also been claimed that he went to extreme lengths to disrupt the activities of black, LGBT and latino classmates, and put together a “Terrorism Awareness Project,” that was aimed at educating students about the risk of “Islamofascism.” In light of this, his integral part in drafting the executive order ordering a travel ban on 7 majority Muslim countries is not surprising.
During a campaign to become class president he was even filmed criticising janitors. “Am I the only one who is sick and tired of being told to pick up my trash when we have plenty of janitors who are paid to do it for us?!”
Why is Miller is pushing the voter fraud claims?
— Fergus Cullen (@FergusCullen) February 10, 2017
Miller’s echoing of Trump’s fraudulent voter fraud claims has drawn continued criticism from democrats and and a number of republicans. Going as far as to claim people were bussed from Massachusetts to New Hampshire to swing the vote against Trump, many observers are trying to figure out what interest the administration has in pushing these falsehoods.
There is growing concern that the claims will be used to increase voter suppression. New Hampshire republicans have, in 2017, introduced 40 bills that would make it more difficult to vote. This includes ending same-day registration, which boosts voter turnout by up to 10; restricting voting rights to only residents of New Hampshire who plan to live in the state “for the indefinite future.” These kinds of bills have been shown to disproportionately affect minority demographics.
The result of this would unquestionably skew any future votes in the GOP’s favour.
Why lying and loyalty are everything to Trump
Stephen Miller is the latest in a line of spokesman to spout lies for the Trump administration. The press secretary, Sean Spicer, is now famous for his bumbling news conference announcing ‘record’ inauguration crowds. Kellyann Conway coined the now notorious phrase, ‘Alternative Facts’.
Miller however, is the first to deliver the falsehoods with such fervent aggression. Add to that the fact he has the president’s ear and is actively pushing hateful policies such as the travel ban, and this is a worrying time. Trump gets rid of those who disagree with him, including judges, and covets those who pander to his distorted view of the world.
It seems more than ever that the American public, and particularly the media, need to do exactly the opposite of what Miller suggested in his dictatorial diatribe. Question each and every decision this administration makes.