The White House on Wednesday put forward the architect of Donald Trump's most racist, anti-immigrant policies to put a public face on the administration's new all-systems-go nativist push and it was, well, jaw dropping.
Stephen Miller, a former Jeff Sessions staffer, embodied all the pompousness of a former Hill staffer who read a few studies and decided he knew everything about immigration policy—a topic that has flummoxed Congress and presidents alike for several decades. Which studies, you ask? Ones that have either been debunked, like George Borjas's study of what Cuban immigration did to Miami's economy, or ones authored by the SPLC-designated hate group the Center for Immigration Studies.
Under pressure, Miller touted both as a rationale for Trump's support of a new bill aimed at limiting legal immigration that’s being sponsored by GOP Sens. Tom Cotton and David Perdue.
Miller packed a lot of bluster and blasphemy into about 30 minutes at the White House podium, but here's the bottom line: His appearance laid bare the fact that the Trump administration is focusing on immigration as an electoral strategy to divide and conquer.
Miller repeatedly mentioned how "blue collar" workers had suffered at the hands of unskilled immigrant workers who had displaced them. But he made sure to make the appeal about all working-class Americans who, according to his studies, have been dealt a raw deal by immigration.
So you've seen over time as a result of this historic flow of unskilled immigration, a shift in wealth from the working class to wealthier corporations and businesses, and it's been very unfair for American workers, but especially for immigrant workers, African-American workers and Hispanic workers and blue collar workers in general across the country.
What a perfect catchall—if you're black, white, Hispanic, whatever, and identify as blue collar or working class, you should be mad because you've been dealt a raw deal by immigrants who have taken your jobs and pushed down your wages—according to his studies.
Asked if the administration had any chance of getting this legislation through Congress given an already behind-the-eight-ball packed calendar dedicated to the debt ceiling, the 2018 budget, tax reform, infrastructure, and maybe taking another whack at healthcare repeal, Miller had no answer.
Ultimately we're going to have to have conversations with Senate leadership and House leadership about the steps forward, but this is an issue that we campaigned on, the American people voted for... [blah blah blah]
Translation: No, there's no chance. But it's a great campaign issue.
Miller also went on attack against any reporters in the room searching for real answers. He cited the bogus studies in response to repeated questioning from Glenn Thrush and then he got flummoxed, offering up this gem:
Maybe it's time we have compassion, Glenn, for American workers.
He also dissed the inscription on the Statue of Liberty that reads: "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free."
There was more, much more. But Trump needs a pound of flesh now that he’s a legislative loser and this is where they are turning.