The latest Trump team member in the media crosshairs is White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller (not to be confused with Ricochet’s Conservatarian co-host or that ’70s joker, smoker, and midnight toker). Miller was one of the chief architects of the travel ban. To be kind, most feel President Trump’s bungled executive order temporarily banning travel from seven Muslim-majority countries was a public relations and logistical faux pas. Subsequently, Miller’s teleprompter-like Sunday morning news interviews were cringe-worthy and are now the likely low hanging fruit for upcoming SNL hazing.
Without relitigating the travel ban (as there are still some Trump supporters who cannot separate the ban from the man) here’s the nutshell: Beyond the obvious inconvenience to those mid-air passengers and Iraqi interpreters supporting US forces, the ban lobbed a slow-pitch grapefruit sized softball to the already antagonistic press, media, and cultural icons, and gifted an unending treasure trove of xenophobic narratives confirming their assertion “Trump is Hitler.”
One can argue the legalities, but messaging is everything. Everything.
While previous administrations commonly use energetic but inexperienced youth to promote policy and fresh ideas, to his credit Stephen Miller actually comes with some notable experience. This has of course been used against him.
Fifteen years ago while in high school(!) Miller’s reputation was a conservative bull in a liberal china shop. He was a right wing firebrand at the uber-liberal Santa Monica High School. For those not familiar with Santa Monica, think of it as San Francisco South, or more common “the Peoples Republic,” where it’s becoming harder to differentiate between homeowners and the homeless. Liberal indoctrination at SMHS borders on Clockwork Orange forced conditioning after which the glazed, wide-eyed Berniacs are uploaded 1984-style into America’s universities where they will hone their regurgitated mantra about racist evildoers and corporate overlords.
Miller’s crime? He had the audacity to fight for and win reinstatement of the daily Pledge of Allegiance. (Reinstated, as in it was once removed). I am not sure why that is viewed as a negative by local media, but in liberal-land, even the daily morning pledge to our flag makes some feel “uncomfortable.”
Where he truly made enemies was his repeated efforts to have his minority-majority high school become English speaking only. According to the not-at-all biased Los Angeles Times, as a Jewish conservative (strike one), who comes from a good NoMo family (“North of Montana” is a wealthy neighborhood — strike two), the 16/17-year-old Miller “fought against multiculturalism” (strike three, you’re out!).
Miller wrote articles for David Horowitz, invited Larry Elder to SMHS, and attended school board meetings in suit and tie fighting “against special treatment for immigrants and others.” An off-record conversation with a friend who’s very close friends with Miller’s former teachers says he is remembered as a lone conservative who vented his outrage against Spanish-speaking students at a school where minorities outnumbered whites. He was not popular with students or teachers.
Latino students recall Miller telling them dismissively that they would do better to work on their English language skills rather than spend their time forming clubs based on ethnicity. Some called him racist.
Miller went on to Duke where he wrote columns and became a local celebrity by vocally defending the Duke LaCrosse team whose members were incorrectly charged with rape. This provided television time where his views always came from a place of being in the minority … the conservative minority. From his high school days, to being the head of the conservative union at Duke, to working for Senator Sessions in an effort to kill an amnesty-like immigration deal, he always loudly battled his way to ensure his conservative stances were heard.
Now at age 31, his views no longer represent the aggrieved conservative who has been cast out by powerful liberals. He is literally steps away from the most powerful person on earth, has his ear, and currently his trust.
Millers idealogy, fight, and zeal is appreciated by his base, but he must understand there are two jobs for a new administration; creating policy and being able to effectively communicate said policy to a dubious media and concerned voters.
In his first test of both, Miller has failed.
As President Trump doesn’t enjoy the benefit of a honeymoon, every sentence, word, and utterance by his staff is viewed through the media’s lens of disdain — of both message and messenger.
Mr. Miller, with all due respect, slow down, practice, and rehearse. Work with your team on likability or have someone else take the shots. You are undoubtedly aware the entire media industry is currently tracking and deliberately targeting you for a quick takedown.
It’s too early for this administration to add another head to the left’s trophy wall.
As featured on Ricochet.com