People For the American Way

“Trumptastrophe”: Stephen Miller Edition

News and Analysis
“Trumptastrophe”: Stephen Miller Edition
Image: Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Welcome to our weekly “Trumptastrophe” series that serves to remind us of the destructive policies, decisions, and actions we encountered during the Trump presidency and the threats that he and others in the MAGA movement still pose – and to keep those moments clear in our memory as we fight to defeat Republican extremists during the upcoming elections.

This week’s Trumptastrophe brings into focus former Senior Adviser to President Trump, Stephen Miller – a far-right, white nationalist, anti-immigrant hardliner who is working alongside fellow right-wing extremists in developing Project 2025, the aggressive battle plan of the far right to completely reshape and weaponize the federal government in order to advance their extreme agenda:

In early April 2019, Trump put White House aide Stephen Miller fully in charge of border and immigration issues. Miller had already been an advocate for the hardest-line policies on immigration, including separating migrant children from their parents.

Empowered by Trump, Miller pushed through personnel changes to give himself what CNN called “an expansive foothold to shape the administration’s immigration policies and attempt end-runs around current laws.”

A former Senate staffer, Miller has a record of citing white nationalist publications. He was upset about online sites that stopped selling Confederate flags after white nationalist Dylann Roof murdered nine Black people in Charleston, South Carolina’s Mother Emanuel church in 2015. In late 2019, Rolling Stone reported on Miller’s role as leader of “a broad operation spread across the federal government.” American Oversight’s Austin Evers told the magazine, “Stephen Miller didn’t cut ties with the extremists when he joined the government—he brought them with him.”

Trump’s reliance on Miller is a sign that a second Trump term would be filled by the worst of the worst.

Miller aggressively backed Trump’s efforts to stay in power after losing the 2020 election, promoting the scheme to create bogus “alternative” slates of electors from battleground states, and blaming “corrupt” media for pressuring judges and elected officials to “cave” rather than rule in Trump’s favor. Miller reportedly prepared the remarks Trump delivered at the Jan. 6, 2021, rally before his supporters attacked the Congress to halt its confirmation of Joe Biden’s victory.

Like other former Trump administration officials, Miller started an advocacy group to maintain his MAGA movement activism. Miller’s America First Legal is seemingly obsessed with the idea that every diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiative designed to expand opportunity or redress discrimination is unconstitutional anti-white-male discrimination. It calls the existence of systemic racism a “lie.” The group files lots of lawsuits against the Biden administration as well as private companies like Disney.

In 2022, Miller’s America First Legal group ran inflammatory radio ads in Georgia claiming that the Biden administration was pushing policies designed to hurt white people and attacking “the left’s anti-white bigotry.” POLITICO described it as “one of the most openly race-based spots of the cycle, amplifying tropes that have historically been used to generate backlash to minority groups.”

America First Legal is a participant in Project 2025, a far-right road map to “take the reins of government,” purge the civil service, install MAGA loyalists in government jobs, and give Trump virtually dictatorial control over federal departments and independent agencies. America First Legal’s general counsel Gene Hamilton wrote the Project 2025 chapter on the Justice Department, which calls for upending civil rights enforcement to focus on rooting out DEI and affirmative action programs as anti-white discrimination. It says the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division should “spend its first year under the next Administration using the full force of federal prosecutorial resources to investigate and prosecute all state and local governments, institutions of higher education, corporations, and any other private employers who are engaged in discrimination in violation of constitutional and legal requirements.”

Miller helped tank the bipartisan border bill that failed in February after Republicans abandoned it when Trump made clear that he would rather use chaos at the border as a campaign issue than have Congress take action that could address the problem. Miller has recently defended Trump’s use of dehumanizing rhetoric about unauthorized immigrants.

At this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference in February, Right Wing Watch reported, Miller told CPAC participants that conservatives must be willing to use government power more aggressively against their opponents. He railed against law enforcement officials for not arresting teachers who violate state laws that restrict teaching on race, gender, and sexuality.

You elect a state supreme court justice, you elect an attorney general, and so on and so forth, to have an office with specific powers, duties, and responsibilities, with the expectation that they will use that authority to defeat evil, to protect the good, and to accomplish positive change in society. And you have to use that power fearlessly. …

A number of states, for example, have passed laws, saying that you can’t have this in the curriculum, or you can’t have that in the curriculum, and you can’t teach DEI and so on and so forth. Without exception, I can promise you, all the commies in the classroom changed the name of their lecture, changed one word, changed one little paragraph in the syllabus and did the exact same damn thing every single day because they’re communists and that’s what they do. Were they sued? No! Were they arrested if they broke a law and it’s applicable? No! Did any D.A. anywhere, if you’re talking about trans issues, think of arresting somebody for abusing children with trans ideology? No, we write blog posts about it. That’s what we do. …

So until we get serious, all the way down to the local DA, all the way up to the state AG and every office in between, including judges, electing people who have power and will use that power and measure their success by change in the real world, then we aren’t going to be able to beat the left.

Miller said in February it’s a problem that conservatives continue putting their faith in a system “that has long ago been turned against us.” He told viewers of Sean Spicer’s show, “The radical left has changed the rules of the game,” claiming that Democrats had installed “wide-eyed communists” as federal judges.

Not surprisingly, Miller’s America First Legal has filed an amicus brief in the case before the U.S. Supreme Court dealing with Trump’s claims of absolute immunity for actions he took while president. On behalf of more than two dozen Republican members of Congress, the brief argues that neither federal nor state courts can have any jurisdiction over any action a president takes unless Congress first impeaches and convicts the president. After that argument was soundly rejected by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, Miller mused about finding prosecutors and judges willing to go after Biden and other administration officials, saying, “Everyone in your administration goes to jail.”

These are just some of the reasons we need YOU in this fight. So, find your favorite way to unwind after reading through this week’s recap, and then make a plan for how you will fight back this week, this month, this election cycle.


Donald Trump, Immigration, Trumptastrophe, white nationalism