- Expected Aug 11, 2020
“A vital book for understanding the still-unfolding nightmare of nationalism and racism in the 21st century.” –Francisco Cantu, author of The Line Becomes a River
Stephen Miller is one of the most influential advisors in the White House. He has crafted Donald Trump’s speeches, designed immigration policies that ban Muslims and separate families, and outlasted such Trump stalwarts as Steve Bannon and Jeff Sessions. But he’s remained an enigma.
Until now. Emmy- and PEN-winning investigative journalist and author Jean Guerrero charts the thirty-four-year-old’s astonishing rise to power, drawing from more than one hundred interviews with his family, friends, adversaries and government officials.
Radicalized as a teenager, Miller relished provocation at his high school in liberal Santa Monica, California. He clashed with administrators and antagonized dark-skinned classmates with invectives against bilingualism and multiculturalism. At Duke University, he cloaked racist and classist ideas in the language of patriotism and heritage to get them airtime amid controversies. On Capitol Hill, he served Tea Party congresswoman Michele Bachmann and nativist Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions.
Recruited to Trump’s campaign, Miller met his idol. Having dreamed of Trump’s presidency before he even announced his decision to run, Miller became his senior policy advisor and speechwriter. Together, they stoked dystopian fears about the Democrats, “Deep State” and “American Carnage,” painting migrants and their supporters as an existential threat to America. Through backroom machinations and sheer force of will, Miller survived dozens of resignations and encouraged Trump’s harshest impulses, in conflict with the president’s own family. While Trump railed against illegal immigration, Miller crusaded against legal immigration. He targeted refugees, asylum seekers and their children, engineering an ethical crisis for a nation that once saw itself as the conscience of the world. Miller rallied support for this agenda, even as federal judges tried to stop it, by courting the white rage that found violent expression in tragedies from El Paso to Charlottesville.
Hatemonger unveils the man driving some of the most divisive confrontations over what it means to be American––and what America will become.
Journalist Guerrero (Crux: A Cross-Border Memoir) underwhelms in this outraged biography of the Trump administration senior policy adviser Stephen Miller. Reconstructing Miller's upbringing in a politically conservative Jewish family in Santa Monica, Calif., in the 1990s (when the state was riven by starkly different approaches to illegal immigration), Guerrero spotlights Miller's early interest in right-wing radio, middle-school subscription to Guns & Ammo, and opposition to bilingual education, multiculturalism, and a gay student club at Santa Monica High School. At Duke University, Miller gained national prominence for a series of student newspaper columns about a group of white lacrosse students wrongfully accused of raping a black woman. After graduation, Miller worked on the staffs of Minnesota congresswoman Michelle Bachmann and Alabama senator Jeff Sessions before joining the Trump administration, where he led the charge to ban immigration from predominantly Muslim countries and to separate migrant children from their parents at the U.S. Mexico border. The inner workings of Trump's anti-immigration policies have been covered in more depth elsewhere, and Guerrero's research into Miller's family background (his great-grandparents immigrated to America to escape Russian pogroms) reveal many ironies but few deep insights. Readers will be left in the dark about what makes Miller tick.