Stephen Miller was the senior policy adviser for the Donald Trump campaign and has been named Senior Adviser to the President. Miller also co-wrote Trump’s inauguration address with Steve Bannon and has continued to be a key player in the Trump administration. On January 29, as protests across the nation erupted in response to Trump’s immigration executive order, Miller was one of the Trump advisers dispatched to defend the policy. Miller was also on the Sunday talkshows on February 12 to defend the immigration order and even brought up the voter fraud claims.
MSNBC host Joe Scarborough even suggested that Miller was behind the chaos the immigration order created. Indeed, a White House official told CNN that Miller spent months putting the immigration order together, secretly working closely with Steve Bannon. Miller told CBS New that the order will “make sure that people entering our country truly love and support the United States of America.”
A longtime adviser for Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, Miller was often seen on the campaign trail as a “warm-up act” for Trump. He also wrote Trump’s speech for the 2016 Republican National Convention.
The 31-year-old Miller is a California native and a Duke University graduate.
Here’s a look at Miller’s life and career.
1. Miller Wrote ‘Osama Bin Laden would feel very welcome at Santa Monica High School’ in 2002
Everything about Miller’s background suggests that he would be a lifelong Democrat. He grew up in Santa Monica, California and both of his parents are Democrats. However, his political viewpoints were influenced by Guns, Crime, and Freedom by National Rifle Association CEO Watne LaPierre, Politico reports.
While at Santa Monica High School, he reached out to conservative radio host Larry Elder to appear on his show to complain about his high school. In 2002, he already showed signs of how he would easily fit into the Trump team by writing an op-ed in a local Santa Monica newspaper called “Political Correctness Out of Control.” The essay was filled with complaints about his high school.
That is why scarcely a student at my school covered their heart when the national anthem was played in the September 11th memorial, but instead of finding error in that, our school found error in our attack on Afghanistan. The school newspaper condemned our military response. Administrators, worried students might become patriotic, were also quick to preach non-violence. Osama Bin Laden would feel very welcome at Santa Monica High School.
If you feel, like me, that political correctness has crossed the line, call the school or the district. Ask them to leave their liberal agendas at the front gate. Enough politics, it’s time for common sense.
Even after graduating from Santa Monica High, he continued complaining about the school. In a 2005 op-ed for Front Page Magazine, Miller accused the Left of creating the “false reality of institutional racism” at Santa Monica High School and called it “a center of political indoctrination.” He specifically targeted school board member Oscar De La Torre.
In 2005, Miller wrote:
Assimilation is anathema to leftists like De Le Torre because the resulting unity would eliminate the need for their policies and programs. To a disturbing extent, this indoctrination has been successful. I have spoken with a number of minority students during my time at SamoHi who claimed that they thought of themselves as Mexican, or Honduran, or Guatemalan first, and American second.
Miller was also influenced by David Horowitz, the founder of Students for Academic Freedom, according to a Politico profile of Miller. They first met when Miller was a teenager and he invited Horowitz to talk at his high school. When Miller invited him to speak at Duke and when he thought Duke wasn’t giving Horowtiz’s talk enough support, he claimed that Horowitz was banned from speaking there. But the talk happened and was broadcast on C-SPAN.
2. Miller Accused Maya Angelou of ‘Racial Paranoia’ & Called Duke University ‘Obsessed With Multiculturalism (a.k.a. Segregation)’
During his time at Duke University, Miller published bi-weekly columns in the Due Chronicle, in which he makes his political leanings crystal clear. In a September 2005 column, for example, he accused Duke of lacking in “diversity of thought” and called it a “Leftist University.” He specifically criticized Duke for inviting Maya Angelou to speak to incoming freshman each year.
“Now, whether you share her racial paranoia or not, the point remains that she is a leftist, yet she is invited to give the orientation speech every single year,” Miller wrote. “Has the administration ever heard of balance? Why not invite someone with another perspective from time to time?”
In the same column, he equated multiculturalism with segregation. “The administration is so obsessed with multiculturalism (a.k.a. segregation) that they deem it necessary to include in freshman orientation a separate luncheon for black students,” he wrote.
In a November 2005 column called “Sorry Feminists,” Miller blamed the gender pay gap on women, writing that they work less and take more lower-paying jobs.
“The pay gap gets a lot smaller when you account for the fact that women work about only 85 percent as many hours as men and are responsible for only 10 percent of all overtime worked,” Miller wrote. “Women also choose lower-paying professions. Educated women are far more likely than educated men to go into service fields such as teaching and social working-admirable professions but ones that don’t pay nearly as well as careers in business.”
In a column from November 2006, Miller criticized Duke for requiring “every student engage in cross-cultural inquiry to graduate, yet there is no requirement to learn about America or larger Western civilization.” He wrote in the same column, “We must come to the defense of our heritage. And for us, that fight begins right here, on our campus.”
A Duke alum told Politico that Miller didn’t write these columns just to spark controversies. He did it to build a personal brand for his professional career. “He was very businesslike about it,” the alum told Politico.
“Part of his standing out was he put a moral tone on every issue he touched on,” John Burness, who worked in Duke’s public relations while Miller was there, told Politico. “If you did not agree with him, there was something immoral about you. He defined the term sanctimonious.”
Miller told Politico that the goal of his columns was to be “a voice of justice and reason” on a campus “where many professors had radical beliefs and engaged in outrageous behavior.”
White nationalist Richard Spencer told the Daily Beast that he was a “mentor” to Miller while they were both at Duke.
“I spent a lot of time with him at Duke… I hope I expanded his thinking… but I think he probably would be where he is today without me as well,” Spencer told the Daily Beast, adding that he thinks Miller is an “American nationalist.” However, Spencer doesn’t think Miller is a “white nationalist” and “would never be alt-tight.”
Spencer told the Daily Beast that he hasn’t been in contact with Miller for the past five years.
“I definitely knew that he was going to make something of himself. And I’m not surprised that he’s a public figure,” Spencer told the Daily Beast. “I think the Duke lacrosse case proved that. He came out swinging when that controversy went down, and he was really adept at the media.”
3. Miller First Gained National Attention for Defending the Duke Lacrosse Players Accused of Rape
Miller first gained national attention for his staunch support of the four white Duke Lacrosse players who were accused of raping a black woman in March 2006. A week after the accusation was first reported, lacrosse coach Mike Pressler was forced to resign and the rest of the team’s 2006 season was cancelled. But in April 2007, future North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, who was then the state’s Attorney General, dropped all the charges.
Miller began to feel vindicated as Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong’s case began to fall apart.
“The more information that surfaces the more apparent it becomes to fair-minded observers that our lacrosse team was railroaded and that three of our fellow students are being put on trial not because of evidence but because of a DA’s incompetence and malice,” Miller wrote in an August 2006 column for the Duke Chronicle. “Sadly, many in the community have shown that they are not fair minded but would rather hunt for witches than search for justice.”
Miller wrote that Nifong, who was later disbarred, was “propelled by the chants and screams of the Duke-and-Durham-Left who sprang into action as soon as it became clear that the alleged victim’s story could be used to propagate their destructive black-versus-white worldview.”
As The Chronicle notes, Miller’s support for the players earned him spots on The O’Reilly Factor and The Nancy Grace Show.
4. Miller Helped Jeff Sessions Defeat the Gang of Eight’s Immigration Reform Bill in 2013
After graduating from Duke in 2007 with a degree in political science, Miller stayed on the East Coast and moved to Washington, first working as press secretary to Representatives Michele Bachmann and John Shadegg. In 2009, he began working with Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, who Trump has nominated for Attorney General.
Now that he could have a hand in shaping policy, Miller took the opportunity. He was Sessions’ communication director when the “Gang of Eight” immigration reform bill was moving through Congress and helped his boss kill it after it passed the Senate. The House never voted on the bill.
According to Nevada News and Views, Miller was behind a column that reminded Republicans what the “Gang of Eight” bill did. “It provided illegal immigrants with welfare, entitlements, lifetime work authorization, chain migration and every other benefit under the sun (even as sponsors pledged the exact opposite),” Miller wrote in one of his 10 points.
In a March 2016 interview with Newsmax, Miller said the Gang of Eight, which included four Republicans, paved the way for Trump’s success.
“Much of this discontent really began growing profoundly in 2013 when eight senators got together and what did they do? They defied the will of every single GOP voter,” Miller told Newsmax. “[They tried to] push through the biggest amnesty bill in history. It’s interesting to be diagnosing bitter discontent when you’re one of those eight senators.”
When Trump announced that Miller was joining his campaign, Ann Coulter tweeted, “I’m in heaven!”
5. Miller, Who Jason Miller Calls a Writing ‘Machine,’ Will Write Trump’s Inaugural Address
On December 26, Politico reported that Miller will write Trump’s inaugural address, which will be delivered on January 20. Trump insiders told the site that the choice wasn’t a surprise, since Miller wrote Trump’s Republican National Convention speech, as well as many other prepared speeches the President-Elect delivered during the campaign. Miller also acted as Trump’s warm-up act during the campaign.
“Steve’s a machine,” Jason Miller, a former Trump aide who is not related to Miller, told Politico. “I’ve literally seen him knock out three speeches in a day.”
In his warm-up speeches, Miller helped get the crowd excited for Trump by delivering speeches that outlined how Trump cared more for the average American than his rival, Hillary Clinton.
“Donald J. Trump, unlike Hillary Clinton, he cares about you. Donald J. Trump, unlike Hillary Clinton, is going to fight for you,” Miller said in a June 2016 warm-up speech in Texas. “Donald J. Trump, like Hillary Clinton, he can’t be bought. He can’t be purchased. He can’t be owned. His only special interest is the American people for whom he will always be loyal. He will be your fiercest champion.”