Stephen Miller, a top White House adviser said to be the architect of the administration’s cruel anti-immigrant policies, went on Fox News Sunday to defend President Donald Trump’s latest round of racist and hypocritical attacks on congresswomen of color. The interview went rather poorly for him.
Host Chris Wallace began the interview by asking Miller about Trump’s recent tweets attacking Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN) Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and demanding that they go back to their home countries (Omar was born in Somalia and came to the United States as a child, the other three are natural born citizens). Miller responded that the president isn’t a racist because the jobless rate has been falling for racial minorities.
“I think the term ‘racist,’ Chris, has become a label that is too often deployed by left/Democrats in this country simply to try to silence and punish and suppress people they disagree with, speech that they don’t want to hear,” Miller began, asserting that Trump “has been a president for all Americans” because “historically low black unemployment rates, historically low Hispanic unemployment rates,” and his crackdown on immigration “to protect safety, security, rising wages for all American citizens.”
Wallace responded that Trump’s claims that Mexican immigrants are mostly rapists and drug dealers and his proposed total ban on Muslims were “not protecting the American people” but “playing the race card.”
After Miller tried to change the subject to criminal gang members, Wallace shut him down, reminding him that Trump had pushed racist “birther” attacks on Barack Obama. Miller likened those efforts to undermine the legitimacy of the former president to questions that were once raised about John McCain. Wallace quickly fact-checked him, noting that concerns surrounding the late Arizona senator were not racial, but based on the 2008 nominee’s birth in the Panama Canal Zone.
Miller then argued that questioning people’s Americanism is okay as long as you don’t intend it to be racist.
Wallace also fact-checked Miller when he attempted to claim Trump had been “clear” that he disagreed with his supporters racist chant — repeating his own attacks on Omar and demanding she be sent back to Somalia.
“No, he was clear after the fact,” he responded. “He let it go on for 13 seconds and [it] was only when it diminished that he started talking again.” Wallace noted that Trump “said nothing there or in his tweet after that rally that indicated any concern about the chant.”
Wallace also pointed out that Trump has criticized the four lawmakers for comments he deemed critical of America, yet attacked the nation, and President Obama, with comments that were far more negative. “President Obama is ignorant, this country is killers, on and on.”
Miller attempted to spin a “fundamental distinction” between “people who think we need to lean into and strengthen American’s core values” and “people who think we need to turn America into Venezuela.” But Wallace again responded with Trump’s own quotes that were explicit attacks on America.
“I’ve never called any of his tweets racist,” Wallace admonished Miller. “But there’s no question he is stoking racial divisions.”