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Forward 50 2017

Stephen Miller

Trump’s Last Nationalist Standing

Stephen Miller, 32, belongs to a small and select group of President Trump’s Jewish confidants — Steve Mnuchin, Jared Kushner, Jason Greenblatt and Gary Cohn, among others. But unlike those supposedly moderating influences, Miller embraces the new administration’s nationalist-populist agenda and has no qualms advocating for it.

Miller, a domestic policy adviser, wrote the president’s “American carnage” inaugural address, then helped craft the “Muslim ban” executive order and advocated for a dramatic reduction in legal immigration. He’s also turned heads for his media appearances, clashing with reporters at press conferences and defending the president’s unsupported claim that voter fraud cost him the popular vote.

Born to a liberal family in Santa Monica, California, he got his start as a political gadfly in high school, calling in to radio talk shows to denounce the state’s prevailing progressivism. While attending Duke University as an undergraduate, he entertained a passing acquaintance with future “alt-right” leader Richard Spencer. Afterward, he served as a policy aide to then-Alabama senator Jeff Sessions.

It’s an open question how much influence Miller will wield going forward. Steve Bannon, his longtime mentor, and Sebastian Gorka, a Breitbart fellow traveler, have departed the White House under less-than-amicable terms. Meanwhile, Trump has launched into abusive tirades against Sessions, now the attorney general. But like so many in the administration, Miller has trodden a path from near-obscurity into the center of American life.

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