At this point in the Trump Administration, there have been a large number of departures, including some of the president’s staunchest allies on the far right, like Breitbart-head Steve Bannon. Bannon’s comrade Stephen Miller has held onto his position through it all, and now, as his stature in D.C. continues to increase, the New York Times has spoken to some of Miller’s former high school classmates back in his home of Santa Monica, California — and what they have to say isn’t nice, to put it lightly.
Miller has been a conservative since his youth, and he was proud to put his allegiance to the causes of the right wing capitalists on display during his formative years. While running for a student government position as a sixteen year old, Miller stood before his assembled peers and commented:
‘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?’
Somewhat unsurprisingly, Miller was promptly booed off stage — but that’s not where the story ends. He was, according to the testimony of former classmates of his, including Charles Gould, seemingly happy about the way that things went, “as if that’s how he planned it.”
The impact of applying this strategy of purposefully causing chaos for the sake of making one’s name known to national American politics is grave.
Miller has been behind the president, as the New York Times reports, on a number of his most incendiary policy proposals, including, most recently, his demand for crackdowns on overall immigration to the U.S. in return for granting any protections to the beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA program. (The president recently made it known that he would be soon be ending DACA.)
There is really no way to overstate Miller’s influence; Kellyanne Conway herself quipped at one point that he was the administration’s “key man.”
Among the stunts that Miller pulled as a student back home are a time when he jumped out onto the track on the final leg of a girls’ track meet to “show his athletic superiority” and a time when he melodramatically removed his shirt to reveal an American flag shirt underneath in “protest” of a school newspaper article that he didn’t like.
The ridiculous, almost cliched right wing schoolboy antics aren’t where the story ends, however. He didn’t just pepper his formative years with disparaging remarks about school janitors; he also according to former classmates, he also lashed out at Hispanics. At one point, before the start of the ninth grade year, he reportedly called up a friend of his named Jason Islas, who he told he could no longer associate with because of the latter’s Latino heritage.
On other occasions, Miller would “make some of the Spanish language stuff very personal,” in the words of Moises Castillo. The barely 30 White House adviser would rail against Hispanics over their Spanish usage and over their supposed lack of academic prowess.
What all of this combines to mean is simple — a man with a remarkable sense of entitlement is in control of the president’s puppet strings. Miller joined the Trump team early on in the election cycle, after his antics as a high schooler and then as a Duke University student propelled him to a sort of C list celebrity status.
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