MSNBC’s Ari Melber Cuts Deep Into Trump Immigration Policy ‘Architect’ Stephen Miller


On MSNBC on Tuesday night, host Ari Melber went in depth on his show into the man he called the “architect” of the Trump immigration policy, White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller.

“Many experts say Stephen Miller is the root of this problem,” began Melber. “He holds a radical view contradicted by our Constitution. A view that is actually more lawless than it is traditionally American. A view, he states, that on immigration President Trump has unlimited powers that will not be questioned.”

Melber plays a clip of Miller stating that Trump’s powers are “very substantial” and that they will not be questioned.

Those comments came during the debate over the travel ban, another Miller brainchild. That ban did not pan out, and eventually Miller was pulled from the forefront in that issue. He, and reportedly Steve Bannon, believed that the negative reactions to the travel ban were precisely what he was going for. “Trolling”, if you will, designed to change the debate rather than as legitimate or even permanent policy.

That is the Miller approach, Melber says, going as far back as high school. It is a familiar one on the right, a combination of so-called trolling for “liberal tears” with actual callousness and antipathy that sees American liberalism and “political correctness” as the greatest threats mankind faces. It’s a view where fighting those forces is worth any cost including, apparently, jailing toddlers.

Melber argues that it is Stephen Miller who, along with his key allies, has driven the worldview behind the stance on immigration that Trump adopted in order to win in 2016.

That’s because Miller, like Bannon and the Trump base broadly, take the extreme hard line. In Miller’s case, there is not even lip-service paid to concerns for family separation. There is no “it’s terrible, but…” argument. As Melber points out, Miller called the “zero tolerance” policy that directly resulted in the family separation debacle a “simple decision”. Not a tough one or a necessary hardship. “Simple.”

That was just a few days ago, after the story was already the biggest news of the month and was facing tremendous backlash from nearly every direction. He didn’t pad it with caveats about concern for the welfare of human beings because that is not his interest, nor is it that of the demographic he targets and covets.

It is not just MSNBC taking a hard look at Miller. The Guardian, too, has published today an in-depth look at Miller and his mentor, David Horowitz. The scrutiny has Horowitz livid, calling it a “lynching” and the press looking into the man behind the separations a “wolfpack.”

Both MSNBC and the Guardian are relying heavily on the reporting done by the New York Times over the weekend on the subject of Stephen Miller.

But Mr. Miller has expressed none of the president’s misgivings. “No nation can have the policy that whole classes of people are immune from immigration law or enforcement,” he said during an interview in his West Wing office this past week. “It was a simple decision by the administration to have a zero tolerance policy for illegal entry, period. The message is that no one is exempt from immigration law.”

They point out that Miller was “instrumental” in the decision to “ratchet up the zero tolerance policy” earlier this year.

It is fair to contrast Miller’s position with that of other immigration hardliners who are at least expressive of compassionate points of view, and a segment that aired on Laura Ingraham’s show on Fox on Tuesday night is a good example of that contrast. MSNBC’s Melber did not make such a distinction in the above clip.

But it is also fair, as Melber does, to draw the direct line between the Trump base and Miller’s own bloodless take, because it is that base that he is serving and to which he appeals, and that is why his ideas and philosophy keep coming out in the form of Trump policy.

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