The exodus of US security officials, including Kirstjen Nielsen and the Secret Service chief, has put renewed attention on White House senior aide Stephen Miller. The 33-year-old is widely seen a big reason President Trump is moving to toughen his immigration and border policies, reports the Hill. In fact, the headline of a CNN analysis refers to this as the "Stephen Miller purge." Related coverage:
- Lightning rod: Miller is reviled on the left. Witness Rep. Ilhan Omar, no stranger to controversy herself, with this tweet: "Stephen Miller is a white nationalist," she wrote, per Fox News. "The fact that he still has influence on policy and political appointments is an outrage." Critics including Rep. Lee Zeldin (here) and Donald Trump Jr. (here) responded by accusing Omar of anti-Semitism (not for the first time) because Miller is Jewish. They, in turn, were ridiculed for equating her criticism with anti-Semitism.
- Clash ahead? Vanity Fair reports that Miller appears to be on a "collision course" with another young member of the administration, Jared Kushner. Why? The presidential son-in-law is quietly working on a plan to expand legal immigration, one that "could increase the number of low- and high-skilled workers admitted to the country annually," reports Politico.
- The winner: Miller is the "obvious winner" in the power struggle that led to the recent resignations, writes Jonathan Allen at NBC News. It could be a while before Homeland Security and immigration offices have new permanent leaders in place, and Miller seems to be in charge in the interim. "Miller has always had a strong hand in the administration's internal wars over immigration policy, but now there's no one left to fight him."
- Potential problem: Miller is a "trusted and loyal soldier to Trump" who is pushing for much tougher limits on immigration, per the Hill. However, he "has never had legislative success as a staffer," says a source described as a Trump loyalist. "We are going to end up with the same result every time."
- A suggestion: In the Washington Post, Max Boot writes that Trump should "nominate Miller as secretary of homeland security and let the puppetmaster come out from behind the curtain." But don't think Boot is a a fan. He adds, "Or is Trump afraid that even a Republican-controlled Senate wouldn’t confirm this nativist fanatic?"
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