Senior White House adviser Stephen Miller in a series of leaked emails pushed white nationalism, bemoaned opposition to Confederate symbols following a mass shooting at a Black church in South Carolina and embraced immigration policies once lauded by Adolf Hitler.
On Tuesday, the Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit civil rights advocacy group, published an investigative report from its Hatewatch arm, which reviewed more than 900 messages Miller sent to Breitbart editors from March 2015 to June 2016. More than 80% “relate to or appear on threads relating to the subjects of race or immigration,” Hatewatch said.
The emails were given to the organization by Katie McHugh, who was an editor at the right-wing website from April 2014 to June 2017, when she was fired after tweeting anti-Muslim attacks.
McHugh told Hatewatch that in 2015, she was introduced to Miller as someone who would influence her reporting.
In June of that year, after white nationalist Dylann Roof shot and killed nine Black worshippers in a Charleston, South Carolina, church, Miller was evidently upset by a nationwide effort by Amazon and other companies to remove Confederate flags from their stores.
Outraged, Miller emailed McHugh under the subject line, “defies modern comprehension,” citing the death toll of Southerners in the Civil War and suggesting she search for sales of communist flags.
“Have you thought about going to Amazon and finding the commie flags and then doing a story on that?” Miller asked. “I think you’ve hit on something potentially profound.”
In July 2015, Miller forwarded McHugh a link to Infowars, the fringe website run by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who has faced numerous lawsuits for falsely claiming the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was a hoax. The link led to a story syndicated from right-wing website CNSNews, which regurgitated Rev. Franklin Graham’s statement that America is “under attack by Muslims at home and abroad” and “should stop all immigration of Muslims.”
In a September 2015 email, Miller recommended that Breitbart write about “The Camp of the Saints,” a racial-dystopian novel by French author Jean Raspail. The book, linked to the far-right movement, portrays immigrants as dark-skinned, feces-eating invaders of white society.
Steve Bannon, the former Breitbart executive chairman and former White House chief strategist, has repeatedly cited the book to describe the European refugee crisis.
The following month, Miller sent McHugh a link to VDARE, an anti-immigration website that peddles white-identity politics and platforms white nationalists. In their exchange, McHugh fretted that Hurricane Patricia, which was wreaking havoc in southwest Mexico, would drive “a mass migration to the U.S. border.” Responding, Miller said the chances were “100 percent,” warning that the storm’s survivors would be granted temporary protected status (TPS), allowing them to remain in the U.S. for a period of time while recovery took place at home. Miller then shared with McHugh a VDARE story on TPS, which was written by Steve Sailer, who has promoted so-called human biodiversity ― a debunked form of race science dismissed by critics as eugenics.
McHugh told Hatewatch that Miller’s emails “clearly illustrate his beliefs, which until now have not been made explicit and known to the American people.”
Throughout the trove of emails, Hatewatch said it “was unable to find any examples of Miller writing sympathetically or even in neutral tones about any person who is nonwhite or foreign-born.”
He also made repeated references to President Calvin Coolidge and his Immigration Act of 1924, which targeted Eastern and Southern European immigrants. It is described by the House’s own Office of the Historian as “a legislative expression of the xenophobia ... that swept America in the decade of the 1920s.”
Hitler, in his infamous “Mein Kampf” manifesto, approved of the law as a possible model for Nazi Germany.
Miller is known as the architect of President Donald Trump’s travel ban on several Muslim-majority countries and the traumatizing policy of separating migrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border.
In a press release, Michael Edison Hayden, senior investigative reporter for Hatewatch, emphasized the power Miller wields in Trump’s administration.
“Americans should be terrified by the casual way that Stephen Miller, who has enormous influence in the White House, shares racist content and speaks the language of white nationalists in emails to people he apparently considered fellow travelers,” he said. “It’s clear that he believes people of color are a danger to our country and should not be allowed in.”
In a statement, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham told HuffPost that she was unaware of the contents of Hatewatch’s report and then attempted to discredit the Southern Poverty Law Center.
“We have not seen the report,” she said. “The SPLC, however, is an utterly-discredited, long-debunked far-left smear organization that has recently been forced ― to its great humiliation ― to issue a major retraction for other wholly-fabricated accusations. They libel, slander, and defame conservatives for a living. They are beneath public discussion.”
The post has been updated with comment from White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham.