WASHINGTON (CNN) — The White House is standing by Stephen Miller, the president’s chief speechwriter and immigration policy adviser.
But they are not denying the legitimacy of a trove of emails given by a former editor at Breitbart to the Southern Poverty Law Center that the center says clearly show Miller as a Senate aide — before Trump won — pushing a white nationalist agenda to the to far-right website.
The SPLC released more than 900 emails exchanged between Miller and Breitbart.
In one email dated October 2015, while Miller still worked for then-Sen. Jeff Sessions, Miller touts what he saw as the danger of allowing hurricane victims from Mexico to come to the U.S.
“They will all get TPS,” or temporary protection status, he said.
Miller goes on to write: “That needs to be the weekend’s big story. TPS is everything.”
Then, he sends then-Breitbart staffer Katie McHugh an article from a prominent white nationalist website, “VDARE,” of the dangers of TPS.
In 2018, well after Miller joined Trump’s inner circle, the president ended the TPS status for several countries, including in Central American and Africa.
McHugh, who gave the emails to the SPLC, has recalled on the phone a conversation with Miller to discuss an article about interracial crime on the white nationalist website, “American Renaissance.”
He would pull crime statistics from there and then try to funnel that through conservative media to target people of color.
In another email in July 2015, miller sent McHugh a link from the website Infowars, which peddles in conspiracy theories.
The Infowars headline quotes Rev. Franklin Graham: “We are under attack. … Stop all immigration of Muslims to the U.S.”
A year and a half later, shortly after the President took office and Miller was in the West Wing, the newly elected president signed an executive order based on this campaign pledge: “Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”
McHugh was fired by Breitbart in 2017 after she tweeted derogatory statements about Muslims. She has since denounced far-right politics and agreed to speak to CNN via phone only:
“Breitbart editors expected me to take their editorial direction from Stephen Miller up and including the editing of headlines on news pieces,” she said.
Ultimately, the SPLC says Miller’s efforts with Breitbart were meant to influence policy, and it worked.
“What you see in these emails with Steven Miller, is that he was creating an appetite for the title type of draconian immigration policies he enacted under President Trump through Breitbart,” said Michael Hayden with the SPLC.
Miller did not answer specific questions about his emails. Instead, a White House spokesperson sent us this statement:
“SPLC is engaged in a vile smear campaign against a Jewish staffer. While Mr. Miller condemns racism and bigotry in all forms, those defaming him are trying to deny his Jewish identity which is a pernicious form of antisemitism.”
“It’s like an absolutely laughable and offensive attack,” Hayden said. “I think Miller is responding with these charges of antisemitism because he has no other answer to it.”