Stephen Miller (political advisor)

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Stephen Miller
File:Stephen miller june 2016 cropped corrected.jpg
Senior Advisor to the President
Assumed office
January 20, 2017
Serving with Jared Kushner
President Donald Trump
Preceded by
Personal details
Born (1985-08-23) August 23, 1985 (age 32)
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
Political party Republican
Education Duke University (BA)

Stephen Miller (born August 23, 1985) is U.S. President Donald Trump's senior advisor for policy. He was previously the communications director for then-Alabama senator, Attorney General Jeff Sessions. He also served as a press secretary to Tea Party movement supporters Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and Congressman John Shadegg.

Miller has acted as Trump's chief speechwriter and is credited with authoring the president's “American carnage” inaugural address.[1][2] He has been a key adviser since the early days of Trump's presidency and was a chief architect of Trump's executive order restricting immigration from several Middle Eastern countries. Miller rose to national prominence on 12 February 2017 when, during a morning of television appearances defending the travel ban, he questioned the concept of the Separation of Powers and the role of the judiciary in enacting legislation, and said "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".[3] Miller is widely seen as sharing an "ideological kinship" with, and has had a "long collaboration" with, current White House Chief Strategist, Steve Bannon.[1]

Early life and education

Miller grew up in a liberal-leaning Jewish family in Santa Monica, California.[4] Though his parents were Democrats, Miller became a conservative after reading Guns, Crime, and Freedom, a book by National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre.[5][6] While attending Santa Monica High School, Miller began appearing on conservative talk radio.[5] In 2002, at the age of sixteen, Miller wrote a letter to the editor of the Santa Monica Lookout, criticizing his school's pacifist response to 9/11 in which he stated that "Osama Bin Laden would feel very welcome at Santa Monica High School."[5][7] Miller invited conservative activist David Horowitz to speak, first at the high school and later at Duke University, and afterwards denounced the fact that neither of the centers would authorize the event.[5] Miller was in the habit of "riling up his fellow [high school] classmates with controversial statements"[8] and telling Latino students to speak only English.[6][8][9][10]

In 2007,[11] Miller received his bachelor's degree from Duke University, majoring in political science.[5] Miller served as president of the Duke chapter of Horowitz's Students for Academic Freedom and wrote conservative columns for the school newspaper. Miller gained national attention for his defense of the students who were wrongly accused of rape in the Duke lacrosse case.[5][12] While attending Duke University, Miller accused the poet Maya Angelou of "racial paranoia" and described student organization Chicano Student Movement of Aztlán (MEChA) as a "radical national Hispanic group that believes in racial superiority."[13]

While at Duke, Miller and the Duke Conservative Union helped co-member Richard B. Spencer, a Duke graduate student at the time, with fundraising and promotion for an immigration policy debate in March 2007 between the open-borders activist and University of Oregon professor Peter Laufer and journalist Peter Brimelow, the founder of the anti-immigration website VDARE. Spencer would later become an important figure in the Neo-Nazi movement and president of the National Policy Institute. Spencer claimed in a media interview that he had spent a lot of time with Miller at Duke, and that he had mentored him; in a later blog post he said the relationship had been exaggerated. Miller says he has "absolutely no relationship with Mr. Spencer" and that he "completely repudiate[s] his views, and his claims are 100 percent false." A contemporary of Spencer and Miller at Duke disputed the mentorship claim.[14][15][16][17]

Duke University's former senior vice president, John Burness, told The News & Observer in February 2017 that, while at Duke, Miller "seemed to assume that if you were in disagreement with him, there was something malevolent or stupid about your thinking — incredibly intolerant." History professor KC Johnson, however, criticized Duke for "not [having] an atmosphere conducive to speaking up", and praised Miller's role at Duke: "I think it did take a lot of courage, and he has to get credit for that."[18]


After graduating from college, Miller worked as a press secretary for Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and Congressman John Shadegg, both members of the Republican Party.[19] Miller started working for Alabama Senator and future Attorney General Jeff Sessions in 2009,[19] rising to the position of communications director.[5] In the 113th Congress, Miller played a major role in defeating the bi-partisan Gang of Eight's proposed immigration reform bill.[5][19] As part of his role as communications director, Miller was responsible for writing many of the speeches Sessions gave about the bill.[20] Miller and Sessions developed what Miller describes as "nation-state populism," a response to globalization and immigration that would strongly influence Donald Trump's 2016 campaign.[5] Miller also worked on Dave Brat's successful 2014 House campaign, which unseated Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor.[5]

In January 2016, Miller joined Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign as a senior policy adviser.[19] Starting in March 2016, Miller frequently spoke on behalf of the Trump campaign, serving as a "warm-up act" for Trump.[5] Miller wrote the speech Trump gave at the 2016 Republican National Convention.[11] In August 2016, Miller was named as the head of Trump's economic policy team.[21]

Trump administration

In November 2016, Miller was named national policy director of Trump's transition team.[22] On December 13, 2016, the transition team announced that Miller would serve as Senior Advisor to the President for Policy during the Trump administration.[23] In the early days of the new presidency, Miller worked with Senator Jeff Sessions, President Trump's nominee for Attorney General, and Steve Bannon, Trump's chief strategist, to enact policies restricting immigration and cracking down on sanctuary cities.[24] Miller and Bannon were involved in the formation of the Executive Order 13769, which sought to restrict U.S. travel and immigration by citizens of seven Muslim countries, and suspend the United States Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) for 120 days, while indefinitely suspends entry of Syrians to the United States.[25][26][27]

On February 12, 2017, Miller appeared on CBS' Face the Nation, where he criticized the federal courts for blocking Trump's travel ban, stating: "... we have a judiciary that has taken far too much power and become, in many cases, a supreme branch of government... 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."[28][29] Miller's assertion was met with criticism from legal experts, such as Ilya Shapiro of the Cato Institute (who said that the administration's comments could undercut public confidence in the judiciary) and Cornell Law School professor Jens David Ohlin (who said that the statement showed "an absurd lack of appreciation for the separation of powers" set forth in the Constitution).[30] In the same appearance, Miller made unsubstantiated accusations that there was significant voter fraud in the 2016 presidential election and that "thousands of illegal voters were bused in" to New Hampshire; independent investigations into such claims have determined them to be false. Miller did not provide any evidence in support of his accusations.[31][32][33]

In popular culture

Stephen Colbert challenged Miller, who said he was "prepared to go on any show, anywhere, anytime", to appear on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Colbert proposed the date of February 14, 2017, but Miller did not appear.[34]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Dawsey, Josh; Johnson, Eliana. Trump’s got a new favorite Steve. Politico, April 13, 2017. Retrieved 16 April 2017
  2. "Who is Stephen Miller, the Jewish adviser behind Trump's 'American Carnage". Haaretz, January 31, 2017. Retrieved 16 April 2016
  3. Redden, Molly. "Trump powers 'will not be questioned' on immigration, senior official says". The Guardian, 12 February 2017. Retrieved 16 April 2017
  4. Hackman, Michelle (July 21, 2016). "The Speechwriter Behind Donald Trump’s Republican Convention Address". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved August 6, 2016. 
  5. 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 Ioffe, Julia (June 27, 2016). "The Believer". Politico. Retrieved August 6, 2016. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 Fernando Peinado (2017-02-08). "How White House advisor Stephen Miller went from pestering Hispanic students to designing Trump's immigration policy". Univision. 
  7. Miller, Stephen (March 27, 2002). "Political Correctness out of Control". Santa Monica Lookout. Retrieved October 4, 2016. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 Brennan, Christopher (February 15, 2017). "Trump adviser Stephen Miller booed off stage by classmates after high school speech". NY Daily News. Retrieved February 15, 2017. 
  9. Goodman, Amy (15 February 2017). "The Stephen Miller Story: From Pestering Latino Students in High School to Drafting Muslim Ban". Democracy Now!. Retrieved 20 February 2017. 
  10. O'Neil, Luke (17 February 2017). "A Conversation with Cobrasnake About Bad Boy Stephen Miller: A generation's defining hipster once knew Trump's controversial advisor". Esquire (magazine). Retrieved 27 February 2017. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 Hathi, Gautam; Chason, Rachel (July 31, 2016). "Stephen Miller: The Duke grad behind Donald Trump". The Chronicle. Retrieved August 6, 2016. 
  12. Bixby, Scott (April 16, 2016). "Top Trump policy adviser was a 'controversial figure' for college writings". The Guardian. Retrieved August 6, 2016. 
  13. Osnos, Evan (September 26, 2016). "President Trump's First Term". The New Yorker. Retrieved October 4, 2016. 
  14. Mak, Tim (19 January 2017). "The Troublemaker Behind Donald Trump’s Words". Retrieved 16 February 2017. 
  15. Harkinson, Josh (14 December 2016). "Trump's Newest Senior Adviser Seen as a White Nationalist Ally". Retrieved 16 February 2017. 
  16. Stancill, Jane. "Stephen Miller’s brash path from Duke campus to Trump White House". News & Observer. 
  17. Hathi, Gautam; Chason, Rachel. "‘A very young person in the White House on a power trip’". The Chronicle. 
  18. "Stephen Miller's brash path from Duke campus to Trump White House," The News & Observer, February 3, 2017, retrieved February 3, 2017.
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 Costa, Robert (January 25, 2016). "Top Sessions aide joins Trump campaign". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 30, 2017. 
  20. Thrush, Glenn; Steinhauer, Jennifer (February 11, 2017). "Stephen Miller Is a 'True Believer' Behind Core Trump Policies". The New York Times. Retrieved February 12, 2017. 
  21. Tankersley, Jim (August 5, 2016). "Donald Trump’s new team of billionaire advisers could threaten his populist message". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 6, 2016. 
  22. Costa, Robert; Rucker, Philip; Viebeck, Elise (November 11, 2016). "Pence replaces Christie as leader of Trump transition effort". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 12, 2016. 
  23. Nussbaum, Matthew (December 13, 2016). "Trump taps campaign aide Stephen Miller as senior adviser". Politico. Retrieved February 1, 2017. 
  24. Markon, Jerry; Costa, Robert; Hauslohner, Abigail (January 25, 2017). "Trump to sign executive orders enabling construction of proposed border wall and targeting sanctuary cities". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 30, 2017. 
  25. Bennett, Brian (January 29, 2017). "Travel ban is the clearest sign yet of Trump advisors' intent to reshape the country". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 30, 2017. 
  26. Savransky, Rebecca (January 30, 2017). "Scarborough singles out Trump aide Stephen Miller for 'power trip'". The Hill. Retrieved January 30, 2017. 
  27. Evan Perez, Pamela Brown & Kevin Liptak (January 30, 2017). "Inside the confusion of the Trump executive order and travel ban". CNN. 
  28. Blake, Aaron (February 13, 2017). "Stephen Miller's authoritarian declaration: Trump's national security actions 'will not be questioned'". The Fix. The Washington Post (Blog). Retrieved February 14, 2017. 
  29. Redden, Molly (February 12, 2017). "Trump powers 'will not be questioned' on immigration, senior official says". The Guardian. Retrieved February 14, 2017. 
  30. Doina Chiacu & Julia Harte, White House official attacks court after legal setbacks on immigration, Reuters (February 12, 2017).
  31. Bump, Philip (February 12, 2017). "Stephen Miller did hit on one truth mixed into his falsehoods on voter fraud". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 12, 2017. 
  32. Katie Sanders, White House senior adviser repeats baseless claim about busing illegal voters in New Hampshire, PolitiFact (February 12, 2017).
  33. Glenn Kessler, Stephen Miller's bushels of Pinocchios for false voter-fraud claims, Washington Post (February 12, 2017).
  34. Borchers, Callum (February 14, 2017). "Stephen Colbert’s anti-Trump experiment is starting to work". The Washington Post. 

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Brian Deese
Senior Advisor to the President
With: Jared Kushner
Preceded by
Valerie Jarrett
Preceded by
Shailagh Murray