In the run-up to the 2016 election, White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller promoted white nationalist literature, pushed racist immigration stories and obsessed over the loss of Confederate symbols after Dylann Roof’s murderous rampage, according to leaked emails reviewed by Hatewatch.
The emails, which Miller sent to the conservative website Breitbart News in 2015 and 2016, showcase the extremist, anti-immigrant ideology that undergirds the policies he has helped create as an architect of Donald Trump’s presidency. These policies include reportedly setting arrest quotas for undocumented immigrants, an executive order effectively banning immigration from five Muslim-majority countries and a policy of family separation at refugee resettlement facilities that the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General said is causing “intense trauma” in children.
In this, the first of what will be a series about those emails, Hatewatch exposes the racist source material that has influenced Miller’s visions of policy. That source material, as laid out in his emails to Breitbart, includes white nationalist websites, a “white genocide”-themed novel in which Indian men rape white women, xenophobic conspiracy theories and eugenics-era immigration laws that Adolf Hitler lauded in “Mein Kampf.”
Hatewatch reviewed more than 900 previously private emails Miller sent to Breitbart editors from March 4, 2015, to June 27, 2016. Miller does not converse along a wide range of topics in the emails. His focus is strikingly narrow – more than 80 percent of the emails Hatewatch reviewed relate to or appear on threads relating to the subjects of race or immigration. Hatewatch made multiple attempts to reach the White House for a comment from Miller about the content of his emails but did not receive any reply.
Miller’s perspective on race and immigration across the emails is repetitious. When discussing crime, which he does scores of times, Miller focuses on offenses committed by nonwhites. On immigration, he touches solely on the perspective of severely limiting or ending nonwhite immigration to the United States. Hatewatch was unable to find any examples of Miller writing sympathetically or even in neutral tones about any person who is nonwhite or foreign-born.
Miller has gained a reputation for attempting to keep his communications secret: The Washington Post reported in August that Miller “rarely puts anything in writing, eschewing email in favor of phone calls.” The Daily Beast noted in July that Miller has recently “cut off regular contact with most of his allies” outside the Trump administration to limit leaks.
Miller used his government email address as an aide to then-Sen. Jeff Sessions in the emails Hatewatch reviewed. He sent the majority of the emails Hatewatch examined before he joined Trump’s campaign in January 2016 and while he was still working for Sessions. Miller also used a personal Hotmail.com address in the emails and did so both before and after he started working for Trump. Hatewatch confirmed the authenticity of Miller’s Hotmail.com address through an email sent from his government address in which he lists it as his future point of contact:
“I am excited to announce that I am beginning a new job as Senior Policy Advisor to presidential candidate Donald J. Trump,” Miller wrote from his government email on Jan. 26, 2016, to an undisclosed group of recipients. “Should you need to reach me, my personal email address is [redacted].”
Katie McHugh, who was an editor for Breitbart from April 2014 to June 2017, leaked the emails to Hatewatch in June to review, analyze and disseminate to the public. McHugh was 23 when she started at Breitbart and also became active in the anti-immigrant movement, frequently rubbing shoulders with white nationalists. McHugh was fired from Breitbart in 2017 after posting anti-Muslim tweets. She has since renounced the far right.
McHugh told Hatewatch that Breitbart editors introduced her to Miller in 2015 with an understanding he would influence the direction of her reporting. For that reason, and because Miller would have regarded her as a fellow traveler of the anti-immigrant movement, McHugh sometimes starts conversations with Miller in the emails, seeking his opinion on news stories. Other times, Miller directly suggests story ideas to McHugh, or tells her how to shape Breitbart’s coverage. Periodically, Miller asks McHugh if he can speak to her by phone, taking conversations offline.
“What Stephen Miller sent to me in those emails has become policy at the Trump administration,” McHugh told Hatewatch.
Miller sent a story from the white nationalist website VDARE to McHugh on Oct. 23, 2015, the emails show. White nationalist Peter Brimelow founded VDARE in 1999. The website traffics in the “white genocide” or “great replacement” myth, which suggests that nonwhite people are systematically and deliberately wiping white people off the planet.
McHugh started the email conversation by asking if Hurricane Patricia could drive refugees into the United States. The hurricane battered parts of Central America, Mexico and Texas, and the media heavily covered the storm. Miller replied to her by underscoring the possibility that Mexican survivors of the storm could be given temporary protected status (TPS), a George H.W. Bush-era policy that would enable them to live and work in the United States for a limited stay:
McHugh, Oct. 23, 2015, 6:10 p.m. ET: “This being the worst hurricane ever recorded, what are the chances it wreaks destruction on Mexico and drives a mass migration to the U.S. border?”
Miller, Oct. 23, 2015, 6:12 p.m. ET: “100 percent. And they will all get TPS. And all the ones here will get TPS too. That needs to be the weekend's BIG story. TPS is everything.”
McHugh, Oct. 23, 2015, 6:22 p.m. ET: “Wow. Ok. Is there precedent for this?”
Miller, Oct. 23, 2015, 6:31 p.m. ET: [VDARE link]
The VDARE story by Steve Sailer, an anti-immigration activist who traffics in discredited race science, focused on instances in which the United States offered refugees temporary protected status. The article was posted the same day Miller shared it with McHugh.
In September, the Trump administration denied temporary protected status to residents of the Bahamas fleeing the destruction of Hurricane Dorian despite widespread destruction.
“I don’t want to allow people that weren’t supposed to be in the Bahamas to come into the United States, including some very bad people and some very bad gang members and some very, very bad drug dealers,” Trump said of Bahamians on Sept. 9.
The ethnic makeup of the Bahamas is more than 90% black, according to statistics from the CIA. The administration has also attempted to cut TPS for residents of other countries, including Honduras and Nepal. Sailer mentioned both Honduras and Nepal in the context of TPS in his VDARE story.
Miller recommended in a Sept. 6, 2015, email that Breitbart write about “The Camp of the Saints,” a racist French novel by Jean Raspail. Notably, “The Camp of the Saints” is popular among white nationalists and neo-Nazis because of the degree to which it fictionalizes the “white genocide” or “great replacement” myth into a violent and sexualized story about refugees.
The novel’s apocalyptic plot centers on a flotilla of Indian people who invade France, led by a nonwhite Indian-born antagonist referred to as the “turd eater” – a character who literally eats human feces. In one section, a white woman is raped to death by brown-skinned refugees. In another, a nationalist character shoots and kills a pro-refugee leftist over his support of race mixing. The white nationalist Social Contract Press plucked the 1973 book from relative obscurity and distributed it in the United States.
At the start of the email chain in which Miller touts the novel, he sends McHugh and Breitbart editor Julia Hahn a National Journal article on Iowans debating immigration at 8:03 p.m. ET on Sept. 1, 2015. McHugh replies:
McHugh, Sept. 1, 2015, 8:49 p.m. ET: “‘Next America.’ We’re being invaded and talked into tolerating it.”
Miller, Sept. 1, 2015, 9:01 p.m. ET: “It’s treated as organic. No mention of voluntary policy which can be shut off.”
Miller returns to the subject of nonwhite immigration on Sept. 6, 2015. He sends McHugh a link to a tweet from conservative pundit David Frum that reads, “Half of all violent crime in Germany committed by ‘foreign youths.’” (Hatewatch reached out to Frum for more context about his tweet but did not receive any response.) McHugh responds to Miller’s email about Frum’s tweet with a follow-up remark about Europe, and Miller sends a link to a Vox.com article suggesting that SAT scores have dropped in part because of the inclusion of more “poor and nonwhite students” than in previous years. Miller then suggests Breitbart take a look at “The Camp of the Saints.”
McHugh, Sept. 6, 2015, 3:34 p.m. ET: “[Breitbart editor] Neil [Munro], Julia [Hahn] and I are going to do a series of stories on [nonwhite SAT scores] to break it down. Neil says it’s easier for people to digest that way and change their minds.”
Miller, Sept. 6, 2015, 3:41 p.m. ET: “On the education angle? Makes sense. Also, you see the Pope saying west must, in effect, get rid of borders. Someone should point out the parallels to Camp of the Saints.”
Hahn wrote a Breitbart story on Sept. 24, 2015, headlined “‘Camp of the Saints’ Seen Mirrored in Pope’s Message.” The article ran 18 days after Miller’s email on the same theme. Hahn is now an aide to Trump.
While “The Camp of the Saints” was relatively obscure then, websites such as VDARE and the white nationalist American Renaissance helped make it a fixture in the white nationalist community. VDARE created an entire searchable tag called “Camp of the Saints.” At the time Miller flagged the book to Breitbart, VDARE had run more than 50 posts under “The Camp of the Saints” tagline, including some referring to Pope Francis’ rhetoric about accepting refugees. Sailer, who authored the VDARE post Miller had shared earlier, ran a story on the pope’s statements about accepting refugees on the same day Miller raised the issue with Breitbart.
Elizabeth Moore, a spokesperson for Breitbart, responded to Hatewatch’s request for comment about Miller's relationship with editors at the website with the following statement:
The SPLC claims to have three- to four-year-old emails, many previously reported on, involving an individual whom we fired years ago for a multitude of reasons, and you now have an even better idea why we fired her. Having said that, it is not exactly a newsflash that political staffers pitch stories to journalists – sometimes those pitches are successful, sometimes not.
It is no surprise to us that the SPLC opposes news coverage of illegal-immigrant crime and believes such coverage is disproportionate, especially when compared to the rest of the media, which often refuse to cover such crimes.
No one in our senior management has read the book, “Camp of the Saints,” but we take The New York Times at their word that it is a “cautionary tale,” and the National Review at theirs that “the central issue of the novel is not race but culture and political principles.”
The Trump administration has said it will cap the number of refugees allowed into the United States at 18,000 in the coming fiscal year, drastically reshaping America’s role as a haven for people fleeing devastation and war. The White House has also said it plans to allow state and local governments to block refugee resettlement in their areas.
Miller suggested McHugh draw information from an American Renaissance article in early July 2015, she told Hatewatch. McHugh’s recollection is backed up by emails appearing to refer to that article, which focused on a favorite topic of Miller’s in the emails – interracial crime.
McHugh told Hatewatch that Miller called her on a workday afternoon to discuss a story on “AmRen,” shorthand for American Renaissance among the site’s readers.
“It was after lunchtime. I was sitting at my desk with my MacBook, and as Miller was speaking, I was looking away … to better concentrate on what he was saying,” McHugh recalled to Hatewatch. “Miller asked me if I had seen the recent ‘AmRen’ article about crime statistics and race. I responded in the affirmative because I had read it. Many of us [on the far right] had read it. I remember being struck by the way he called it ‘AmRen,’ the nickname.”
The article was published on American Renaissance on July 1, 2015, and called “New DOJ Statistics on Race and Violent Crime.” McHugh identified the story as the one flagged by Miller when Hatewatch presented it to her. The American Renaissance article by white nationalist Jared Taylor celebrates the Department of Justice reporting Hispanics in a separate category on crime statistics “rather than lumping them in with whites.”
Hatewatch identified the email chain that led to the phone conversation McHugh relayed. The conversation started July 7, 2015, when Miller contacted McHugh, then-Breitbart head Steve Bannon and editor Matthew Boyle in an email with the subject line, “A data point worth adding to any coverage of the crime issue.”
In the opening email, Miller discusses “Shapiro’s piece,” which likely refers to a July 7, 2015, Breitbart story by pundit Ben Shapiro called “Is Trump Right?” McHugh replies, sharing a National Review article by Heather MacDonald, a conservative essayist and researcher:
McHugh, July 7, 2015, 3:19 p.m. ET: Wow. We’ll likely never see any stats on interracial crime come from the DOJ ever again, but they have added “Hispanic” as a category rather than classifying them all as “white.” [National Review link]
Miller then removes Bannon and Boyle from the thread to converse privately with McHugh. He asks if they can get on the phone to speak and sends her two links to FBI crime statistics.
Miller, July 7, 2015, 3:35 p.m. ET: “Let me know when you can talk re: immigrant crime. Have some thoughts.”
McHugh, July 7, 2015, 4:45 p.m. ET: “I can chat now if you’re free.”
The fact that Miller addresses McHugh privately immediately after she shares MacDonald’s National Review story is noteworthy: Taylor’s American Renaissance post, which is focused on crime statistics, analyzes the MacDonald story and links to it in its opening line.
Miller appears to refer to the phone conversation again nearly two months later in an email with the subject line “touching base”:
Miller, Sept. 1, 2015, 2:38 p.m. ET: “Hey Katie, Hope all is well. Was curious to see if you were still planning a story with the DOJ crime victims' data.”
McHugh, Sept. 1, 2015, 2:56 p.m. ET: “Hi Stephen, yes, I’d like to. Can we touch base tomorrow morning/early afternoon after I write a couple of assignments?”
Miller, Sept. 1, 2015, 3:10 p.m. ET: “Absolutely”
Miller’s name also has appeared on American Renaissance as an author. On July 19, 2005, the white nationalist website republished a piece he wrote for the right-wing online publication FrontPage Magazine called “Santa Monica High’s Multicultural Fistfights,” regarding his high school alma mater. American Renaissance commonly republishes stories from other publications that fit into its racist agenda. Hatewatch reached out to American Renaissance for a comment twice about how Miller’s post came to appear on its website but did not receive any reply.
In the article, Miller blames the left for a variety of problems in the nation’s schools, including “excusing black and Hispanic misbehavior by holding those students to a lower standard.”
White nationalist Dylann Roof murdered nine black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina, in June 2015. Roof’s attack triggered a national conversation about racial hatred in the United States. In response, Amazon.com and other retailers made efforts to pull the Confederate flag from their websites and stores.
Miller sought to create a counternarrative to this news through Breitbart, the emails show. He emailed McHugh with the subject line “defies modern comprehension” on June 23, 2015, following the news about the retailers, and highlighted a statistic about the deaths of Confederate soldiers with a link to history.com:
Miller, June 23, 2015, 3:10 p.m. ET: “‘22.6 percent of Southern men who were between the ages of 20 and 24 in 1860 lost their lives because of the war.’” [history.com link]
McHugh told Hatewatch that she and Miller spoke on the phone about the subject of Amazon yanking Confederate flag merchandise after the email. Miller appears to refer to that call in his next email and suggests that McHugh write about how Amazon was selling “commie flags.”
Miller, June 23, 2015, 3:31 p.m. ET: “That's a really, really, really good point.
Have you thought about going to Amazon and finding the commie flags and then doing a story on that? I think you've hit on something potentially profound.”
McHugh, June 23, 2015, 3:32 p.m. ET: “Yes, definitely. There’s all kinds of hammer and sickle merchandise, Che shirts, Stalin shirts… the list goes on and on.”
Miller, June 23, 2015, 3:36 p.m. ET: “I think that would be a very big story. Reveals just the stunning corporate hypocrisy that defines our modern culture.”
McHugh, June 23, 2015, 3:42 p.m. ET: “Yes, and extra lulz: [Former Obama White House press secretary] Jay Carney, who’s a senior advisor or something for Amazon, displayed Commie propaganda IN HIS HOUSE.” [Daily Caller link]
Miller, June 23, 2015, 4:33 p.m. ET: “This would be the perfect time to resurrect that fact. Brilliant.”
McHugh, June 23, 2015, 5:07 p.m. ET: “I’m going to go full Info Wars here: It’s not a coincidence that in the midst of pushing the US-ending trade deal, we’re seeing a historic artifact of real America be demonized and destroyed.”
Miller, June 23, 2015, 5:11 p.m. ET: “I betcha they also sell lots of che gueverra garb too.”
McHugh, June 23, 2015, 5:13 p.m. ET: “Oh they do. It took a long time to write a very short piece because I feel gripped with anger and despair. But if there was ever a time to stay cheerful, this is it!!”
Miller, June 23, 2015, 5:14 p.m. ET: “shoot me link when you have.”
McHugh and Miller continued to trade emails about the subject later that night. McHugh mentioned that “Confederate monuments [are being] vandalized in the US.” She sent Miller a link to the story she wrote based on their conversation, “Amazon takes down Confederate flag, continues to sell communist merchandise,” noting it was “leading Breitbart.”
Miller, June 23, 2015, 10:34 p.m. ET: “what do the [Confederate monument] vandals say to the people fighting and dying overseas in uniform right now who are carrying on a seventh or eighth generation of military service in their families, stretching back to our founding?”
The emails show that Miller returned to the subject in subsequent days, tying the debate to immigrants and leftists. He sent an email June 24, 2015, with the subject line “story idea”:
Miller, June 24, 2015, 2:07 p.m. ET: “1. Should people of Spanish descent, especially those living in immigrant communities, be banned from displaying the Spanish flag given Spanish conduct in Latin America? 2. Should [Univision anchor] Jorge Ramos apologize for Spanish conduct in Latin America, and redress it by ensuring more people of indigenous backgrounds have hosting duties on his network? 3. Should the cross be removed from immigrant communities, in light of the history of Spanish conquest?”
Miller brought up the issue again one day later:
Miller, June 25, 2015, 10:38 a.m. ET: “When will the left be made to apologize for the blood on their hands supporting every commie regime since stalin?”
Preserving Confederate monuments has resonated with the far right, and Trump has repeatedly played to those views.
Following the August 2017 “Unite the Right” rally, for example, when white nationalists and neo-Nazis marched in Charlottesville, Virginia, to protect a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, Trump appeared to defend them, saying that there were “very fine people, on both sides.” A man who marched with white nationalists at Unite the Right murdered antiracist demonstrator Heather Heyer in a car-ramming attack that Aug. 12. Five days later, Trump tweeted:
“Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments.”
In his emails to Breitbart, Miller also discussed the coverage surrounding another killer who espoused racist beliefs. Chris Harper-Mercer, a student at Umpqua Community College, killed nine people at the Roseburg, Oregon, school Oct. 1, 2015.
The following day, newspapers such as the Los Angeles Times reported that Harper-Mercer espoused a combination of white supremacist and antireligious beliefs, which typically intersect with ideologies espoused by the “alt-right” movement online.
Before Harper-Mercer’s motivations became apparent, Miller’s response was to single out his race:
Miller, Oct. 2, 2015, 12:06 a.m. ET: “[Harper-Mercer] is described as ‘mixed race’ and born in England. Any chance of piecing that profile together more, or will it all be covered up?”
McHugh replied by sending Miller a story she wrote on Harper-Mercer that attempted to show he was connected to a person on MySpace who had praised Islamic terrorism. Miller replied with enthusiasm to it:
Miller, Oct. 2, 2015, 11:28 a.m. ET: “Your eds need to make that the LEDE.”
Pamela Geller is a writer and pundit known for her extreme anti-Muslim views. Geller once said, “Muslim immigration is tied directly to Islamic terror.”
Miller claimed to be discussing story ideas with Geller in an email using the subject line “Sweden took my idea” on July 23, 2015. Miller shared a link to a Canadian blog called Blazingcatfur.ca about Sweden Democrats, an anti-immigrant party, planning a gay pride parade through a Muslim-dominated neighborhood. Leaders of the Sweden Democrats have struggled to shake their party’s reputation as fascist. Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven has called the Sweden Democrats “a neo-fascist single-issue party” with “Nazi and racist roots,” according to German broadcaster Deutsche Welle.
Miller sent the email to McHugh, Hahn and Bannon, then still head of Breitbart:
Miller, July 23, 2015, 11:37 a.m. ET: “[Link] I suggested Pamela Gellar do this to illustrate the absurdity of the Left's theory that you can't do anything which violates the tenets of fundamentalist Islam. What is more important to the Left: their ‘gay rights’ agenda, or appeasing Islamist immigrants?”
Bannon, July 23, 2015, 11:39 a.m. ET: “Wow!!!”
Miller, July 23, 2015, 11:50 a.m. ET: “This would have caused the american liberal media to collapse”
Hatewatch reached out to Geller twice for comment about any contact she might have had with Miller but did not receive any reply.
Miller forwarded a link from conspiracy website Infowars on July 21, 2015. Infowars is an antigovernment website that promoted a false story suggesting the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was staged, among much other misinformation.
The Infowars story was syndicated from CNSNews.com, a right-wing website, and Miller sent it with the subject line, “for your islam story.” The story highlighted comments by the Rev. Franklin Graham advocating an end to Muslim immigration to the United States.
Miller also forwarded multiple links to McHugh on Muslims from Refugee Resettlement Watch, an anti-immigrant, far-right website lauded by VDARE’s Brimelow.
Miller refers to President Calvin Coolidge multiple times in emails to Breitbart. Coolidge signed the Immigration Act of 1924. The legislation was based on eugenics and severely limited immigration from certain parts of the world into the United States. White nationalists lionize Coolidge, in part for his remarks condemning race mixing.
“There are racial considerations too grave to be brushed aside for any sentimental reasons,” Coolidge wrote in a 1921 magazine article, as quoted on American Renaissance. “Biological laws tell us that certain divergent people will not mix or blend. … Quality of mind and body suggests that observance of ethnic law is as great a necessity to a nation as immigration law.”
In “Mein Kampf,” Hitler portrayed the U.S. law as a potential model for the Nazis in Germany. James Q. Whitman, the Ford Foundation professor of comparative and foreign law at Yale Law School, noted this detail in his book “Hitler’s American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law.”
“Absolutely, Hitler talks about the law in ‘Mein Kampf,’” Whitman told Hatewatch. “He suggests that the U.S. was the only country making the type of progress the Nazis were trying to establish.”
Miller brings up Coolidge on Aug. 4, 2015, in the context of halting all immigration to America. Garrett Murch, who also was an aide to Sessions, starts the conversation by emailing McHugh, Miller and three other Breitbart employees, including Hahn, to note something he heard on a right-wing talk radio show:
Murch, Aug. 4, 2015, 6:22 p.m. ET: “[Show host] Mark Levin just said there should be no immigration for several years. Not just cut the number down from the current 1 million green cards per year. For assimilation purposes.”
Miller, Aug. 4, 2015, 6:23 p.m. ET: “Like Coolidge did. Kellyanne Conway poll says that is exactly what most Americans want after 40 years of non-stop record arrivals.”
Another example of Miller mentioning Coolidge happens Sept. 13, 2015, when he criticizes Republican Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham for appearing too sympathetic to refugees. Miller sends an email to McHugh and Hahn with the subject, “Tucker asks McCain, Graham how refugees are good for Americans,” with a transcript of a discussion between the two senators and Tucker Carlson of Fox News.
Miller, Sept. 13, 2015, 7:53 p.m. ET: “this is a good chance to expose that ridiculous statue of liberty myth. Poem has nothing to do with it: [Link] Indeed, two decades after poem was added, Coolidge shut down immigration. No one said he was violating the Statue of Liberty's purpose. BTW: have you noticed how [Ben] Carson and [Carly] Fiorina are preening [Marco] Rubio-like daily in front of the media to show them how they are good and decent Republicans unlike Mr. Trump? Finally, speaking of refugees, did you see the expanded list I emailed of foreign-born terrorists on Friday afternoon?”
McHugh said the email exchange led to her Breitbart post called “Lindsey Graham: Pretty Poem Says USA Must Adopt Unknown Muslim Men from Jihad-Syria." McHugh’s Sept. 14, 2015, story treats Arab men as a danger to Americans in the suburbs: “Graham’s position is almost a threat: Boots on the ground in Syria, or your sleepy suburb gets a ‘diverse’ surprise.”
Miller cites Coolidge again in the context of Ellis Island on April 28, 2015, when he sends McHugh a New York Times article that the immigration museum there would be adding new galleries:
Miller, April 28, 2015, 11:38 p.m. ET: Something tells me there is not a Calvin Coolidge exhibit.
Miller also brings up Coolidge in the context of Immigrant Heritage Month on June 2, 2015. He sends a link from an MSNBC report about the start of the month:
Miller, June 2, 2015, 7:05 p.m. ET: This would seem a good opportunity to remind people about the heritage established by Calvin Coolidge, which covers four decades of the 20th century.
Miller’s comment about “four decades” refers to the time between the passage of the Immigration Act of 1924 and the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, or Hart-Celler Act, which abolished racial quota laws for immigration. Miller’s vision on immigration equates “heritage” with a time in which American laws were dictated by discredited race science.
Miller helped shape one of McHugh’s stories for Breitbart titled “Ted Kennedy’s Real Legacy: 50 Years of Ruinous Immigration Law,” the emails show. The story focused on the legacy of the Hart-Celler Act from the perspective that the removal of racial quota laws harmed the country. Miller flagged the story idea to McHugh:
Miller, March 30, 2015, 1:49 p.m. ET: “They opened the Ted Kennedy center today in Boston. Another opportunity to revisit the ’65 immigration law.”
After McHugh’s story was published, Miller emailed her, “The eds should make your piece the overnight lead.” He went on to suggest that the reason no other publication covered the anniversary of the law the same way Breitbart did was because elites wanted to keep the country in the dark about immigration. White nationalists typically argue that whites are being replaced in the United States because outside forces seek to do them harm.
Miller, March 30, 2015, 10:24 p.m. ET: “Just let this sink in: Kennedy was honored today, fifty years after pushing through this law, and you're the only writer in the country who published a piece even mentioning the law and what it did.”
McHugh, March 30, 2015, 10:31 p.m. ET: “That is … very disturbing.”
Miller, March 30, 2015, 10:35 p.m. ET: “Elites can't allow the people to see that their condition is not the product of events beyond their control, but the product of policy they foisted onto them.”
McHugh, March 30, 2015, 10:42 p.m. ET: “Right. Immigration is something that we can only vote to have more of — immigration ‘reform’ is a moral imperative — but it’s impossible, evil, racist to reverse immigration, and you don’t think that the government can deport 11 million anyway, do you?”
Miller, March 30, 2015, 10:44 p.m. ET: “They want people to feel helpless, retreat into their enclaves, and detach. Our job is to show people they can still control their destiny. Knowledge is the first step. Btw - Bannon was praising your work on this to me again.”
In his emails, Miller uses slang and rhetoric about immigration that would be familiar to people who read white nationalists discussing the “great replacement” conspiracy theory. He refers to demographic changes brought about by immigration as “new America” multiple times in the emails. It’s a phrase VDARE sometimes uses. Here are some examples of Miller using similar language in emails to Breitbart over nearly a week in July 2015:
- “The ruined city of L.A.,” referring to his hometown on July 9, 2015.
- “New Charlotte,” pointing to an article about employers in Charlotte, North Carolina, hiring more bilingual staff on July 14, 2015.
- “New English,” about then-current GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush speaking Spanish on the campaign trail on July 14, 2015.
- “More lies about new america,” linking to a Wall Street Journal opinion piece from July 2015 that lays out the degree to which immigrants are less likely than native-born Americans to commit crimes.
Miller also discussed diversity in apparently mocking tones as America’s “national religion” on Nov. 23, 2015. He cited a story about a possible lawsuit from the family of Ahmed Mohamed, a 14-year-old Muslim boy who was arrested after bringing a reconstructed digital clock to his Irving, Texas, high school in 2015.
Miller, Nov. 23, 2015, 5:07 p.m. ET: “[Link] Like the mystics of old, the one sure way to get rich in modern America is to offer yourself up as virtue signal to those seeking to prove themselves members in good standing of the national religion – diversity.”
Hatewatch re-examined Miller’s reported relationships with prominent figures from the white nationalist movement in light of information uncovered during its investigation into his emails to Breitbart.
Before entering into politics, Miller was in contact with Brimelow, the VDARE founder, and Richard Spencer, who went on to become arguably the most notorious white nationalist in America. Spencer helped build the alt-right movement and was a central figure of the deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in 2017. Miller knew and interacted with these men while studying at Duke University as an undergraduate, according to a first-hand account and email evidence. The interactions with Brimelow occurred about eight years after he founded the white nationalist VDARE.
Miller and Spencer, while serving together as members of Duke’s Conservative Union, a politics-focused club for students, arranged for Brimelow to debate journalist and University of Oregon professor Peter Laufer in March 2007 on Mexican immigration to the United States.
Laufer told Hatewatch he ate dinner at a local restaurant with Brimelow, Miller and Spencer when he visited Duke. He described the atmosphere between him and the men as collegial despite their ideological differences. Laufer also called the interactions “gross,” given the others’ outspoken anti-immigrant beliefs.
The meetup was also confirmed through an email Spencer sent to Laufer that the journalist Michael Brown first obtained in 2017 for the nonprofit blog Electronic Intifada. Brown forwarded that email to Hatewatch in August. It lays out logistical details of the event and mentions Miller by name – just as Brown reported in 2017.
Hatewatch reached out twice to Brimelow to ask about Laufer’s account of the events but did not receive a reply. Hatewatch also contacted Spencer, who replied by email that he does not correspond with the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Spencer has acknowledged his relationship with Miller before in Mother Jones:
“It’s funny no one’s picked up on the Stephen Miller connection,” he told the magazine in October 2016. “I knew him very well when I was at Duke. But I am kind of glad no one’s talked about this because I don’t want to harm Trump.”
HuffPost reporter Christopher Mathias, who writes about far-right events, told Hatewatch that Spencer made a similar remark to him in October 2017 when he was covering a speech by the white nationalist leader at the University of Florida. “I don’t want to get [Miller] in trouble,” Mathias says Spencer told him when he asked about his relationship with the White House aide.
Miller denied having any ties with Spencer to Mother Jones:
“I have absolutely no relationship with Mr. Spencer. I completely repudiate his views, and his claims are 100 percent false,” Miller said then.
Laufer’s account of the events mirror more closely to what Spencer has said:
“There is absolutely no question they were working together,” Laufer told Hatewatch. “We all perhaps have relationships in our college days that we’d like to forget. But to suggest [Spencer and Miller] weren’t working in concert to create this event is false. They were intimately involved in the planning of the dinner and the event. This was a partnership, and for Miller to suggest otherwise would be false.”
Hatewatch asked Laufer if he had any other impressions of the future White House adviser after having met him as a college student:
“It was evident to me Miller was not interested in a multicultural society,” he said.
Photo illustration by SPLC