Will Miller Be the First To Be Chopped?
Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.
One indeed must wonder if Stephen Miller’s days working in the Trump White House may be numbered. As the second highest Jew working for Trump—after his son-in-law—and as the 31 year old wunderkind of the Bannon team, Miller has been working overtime with and for the campaign, the transition, and now for the President’s team since January 2016. The end of Trump’s first full week in office ended, however, with Miller not coming out on top in more than one area.
First, Miller reportedly was the one who facilitated the expeditious handling of the refugee immigration ban. While Stephen Bannon undoubtedly had recommended that the President proceed quickly with a ban on so-called dangerous Muslim terrorist immigrants, it appears that the design and drafting of the Executive Order was placed in Miller’s hands. It was he who reportedly moved the order out with so many issues and questions remaining unresolved. Undoubtedly, Bannon was the malevolent genius behind it, but like Trump himself, Bannon will never take the rap for the push-back that this order has received in numerous circles. Not only did the federal courts already issue four stays the order, but Trump is getting pummeled by large segments of the American public. He is getting hit by most Democrats; foreign governments; refugee aid and civil liberties organizations; friendly Muslim countries; large segments of the business community and Wall Street; and even by some Republicans.
Whatever will be the direction of Trump’s new immigration policies, they got off to a terrible start. The Administration will need to spend time now dealing with the damage caused by an inadequately and improperly vetted Executive Order. Even Trump’s decision that he will announce tomorrow evening his recommendation to fill the Supreme Court vacancy following Antonin Scalia’s death, is unlikely to be a sufficient public distraction for more than 24-48 hours from the immigration mess that has been created.
Miller’s mistakes were not limited only to immigration. In his position as a high ranking Jewish advisor to the President, Miller apparently was responsible for the President’s Friday proclamation in commemoration of International Holocaust Remembrance Day. This statement—Trump’s first public remarks related to Jews–which presumably also was developed based on guidelines from Stephen Bannon, made no mention of the six million Jews killed by the Nazis in the Shoah; something that was clearly referenced in detail even by the U.N. statement. In fact the White House spokesperson Hope Hicks—like everyone else on the Trump team who cannot admit mistakes or errors—actually stated that the Administration wanted an inclusive statement for all those who suffered in Holocaust.
The absence of any Jewish reference could be attributed to Jared Kushner’s lack of familiarity with drafting procedures of such material and a need for all the appropriate references to be cited. To blame Kushner, however, would be placing responsibility once again at a level where Trump’s people do not make mistakes and are infallible. So the spokesperson Hicks says the words and Trump’s official Jewish adviser Miller takes the rap.
One ponders how many more missteps Miller will be permitted until he becomes the first sacrificial lamb jettisoned by the President. One wonders as well whether Bibi Netanyahu will mention this absence to the President—as no doubt would have Menachem Begin—when the Prime Minister meets the President on February 15 to discuss rescinding the Iran deal.