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Stephen Miller’s Third Grade Seat Mate Recalls A Little Boy With Problems

Stephen Miller’s third grade classmate vividly remembers sitting next to him in school — divided by a piece of tape Miller put down to separate them.

In an essay for Politico, John Muller recalls how it was hard to get through to young Miller, now a senior White House adviser known widely as the harsh face of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy, which has separated children from their parents at the border.

“He was frequently distracted, vacillating between total disinterest in everything around him … and complete obsession with highly specific tasks that could only be performed alone,” Muller wrote.

His obsessions, Muller noted, included tape and glue. Miller had placed a piece of white masking tape down the middle of their shared desk, “explaining that it marked the boundary of our sides and that I was not to cross it.”

Muller details the tape as a grimy distraction, with Miller constantly picking away at it until it was time to lay down another, repeating instructions not to cross it.

Today, in the midst of the crisis at the border, Miller is still advocating to build a wall on the Mexican border to keep out immigrants.

“He thought he was trying to keep out the chaos of the world,” Muller writes, “when really he was looking for a way to explain away the chaos on his own side of the desk. For that was where chaos had always been.”

Alyssa Fisher is a news writer at the Forward. Email her at, or follow her on Twitter at @alyssalfisher




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