Duke alum Stephen Miller comes under fire for anti-immigrant emails with Breitbart editor

Stephen Miller, White House senior advisor and Trinity ‘07, drew a firestorm of media attention this week after hundreds of his emails with a former Breitbart editor were reported by the Southern Poverty Law Center

Miller, an immigration hardliner who was reportedly an architect of President Donald Trump’s controversial “Muslim ban,” sent the emails to Katie McHugh, then an editor at Breitbart, in 2015 and 2016. The SPLC report paints a picture in which Miller would send information and story ideas—sometimes citing VDare, which has published work by white nationalists, and InfoWars, which is known for promoting conspiracy theories—to McHugh, who then often wrote about the topics for Breitbart.

The emails prompted a joint statement from the leaders of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Black Caucus, Hispanic Caucus and Asian Pacific American Caucus Thursday, calling for Miller’s resignation. 

“His beliefs are appalling, indefensible, and completely at odds with public service,” the statement says. 

Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took to Twitter in response to the report, calling Miller a “white nationalist” and starting a petition to demand his resignation.

In the emails, Miller referenced the racist book “Camp of the Saints.” He also repeatedly cites President Calvin Coolidge, who signed the Immigration Act of 1924 to limit immigration based on national origins.

As Amazon and other retailers began to pull Confederate flag merchandise in the wake of a white nationalist killing nine black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina, Miller suggested McHugh look into communist flag merchandise on the online retailer’s website, according to the SPLC’s report, to show the “stunning corporate hypocrisy that defines our modern culture.”

The more-than-900 emails SPLC says it reviewed were sent from March 2015 to June 2016—a period in which Miller was an aide to then-Senator Jeff Sessions, who later became Trump’s attorney general, and during the first part of Miller’s time with Trump’s campaign.

McHugh, who gave the emails to the SPLC, has said she was fired from Breitbart for anti-Muslim tweets in 2017, but now “renounces far-right views.” In a statement to the SPLC for the report on the emails, Breitbart spokesperson Elizabeth Moore said they fired McHugh for “a multitude of reasons.”

The New York Times has also reported on the emails, saying that it was provided with seven pages of the emails by the SPLC.

Stephanie Grisham, White House press secretary, slammed the SPLC when asked about the report, according to The Associated Press, saying the organization attacks conservatives and is “beneath public discussion.”

On Thursday, White House Spokesperson Hogan Gidley called out the SPLC for a recent $3.4 million lawsuit settlement in a statement to The New York Times.

“I work with Stephen,” Gidley said. “I know Stephen. He loves this country and hates bigotry in all forms—and it concerns me as to why so many on the left consistently attack Jewish members of this administration.”

The Times reported that Miller declined their request to comment, and The Chronicle was not able to contact Miller for comment about the emails in time for publication. 

Bre Bradham

Bre is a senior political science major from South Carolina, and she is the current video editor, special projects editor and recruitment chair for The Chronicle. She is also an associate photography editor and an investigations editor. Previously, she was the editor-in-chief and local and national news department head. 

Twitter: @brebradham

Email: breanna.bradham@duke.edu


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