A year ago it would have been all too easy to overlook Stephen Miller in a scan of influential staff defining policy in Washington, D.C. — now Miller would top the list. The former senior policy adviser to both the Trump campaign and transition team was named senior policy adviser to the future Trump White House Tuesday.
Formerly the communications director for Sen. Jeff Sessions, Miller was noted mainly for his reputation as a conservative ideologue and a penchant for skinny ties and suits tailored in slim, ’60s-style cuts that earned him the sobriquet “Mad Men” from his peers on the Hill.
“I doubt I’ll ever come across another person who puts as much passion and intelligence to work for everyday Americans.”
Miller had risen to some prominence among Beltway conservative circles through his work for Sen. Sessions. If Sessions was the leading voice of right-wing populism in the GOP, it is largely because of Miller’s influence and vision.
Ann Coulter tweeted “I’M IN HEAVEN! Trump hires Sen. Sessions’ brain trust” in response to news of Miller’s joining the campaign in June with good cause. It was largely due to Miller’s work that Republicans were able to sink the infamous Gang of Eight amnesty bargain.
“Stephen Miller is a patriot. I worked with him for the better part of a decade and, aside from our boss Sen. Sessions, I never saw anyone else so committed to the national interest,” Andrew Logan, Sessions’ former press secretary who worked with Miller for six years, told LifeZette.
“Ever-focused on what would be best for American workers, Stephen was unafraid to challenge the conventional wisdom of elites in both government and the media. His fluency discussing abstract philosophical ideas is matched only by his ease at absorbing minute policy details,” said Logan. “President-Elect Trump has made a superb choice, and will be well-served by Stephen’s counsel.”
The work Miller did while in Sessions’ employ was arguably crucial to laying the very groundwork for Trump’s successful campaign. “You could not get where we are today with this movement if it didn’t have a center of gravity that was intellectually coherent,” Trump strategist and former Breitbart News CEO Steve Bannon told Politico in June. “A ton of that was done by Sen. Sessions’ staff, and Stephen Miller was at the cutting edge of that,” he said. “Miller is providing the intellectual architecture for an insurgency against the Republican Party,” Bannon continued.
Before joining the Trump campaign, Miller had a reputation as a bit of a wonk, a man more content to craft a winning message behind the scenes than to deliver it in front of cameras. During the course of Trump’s campaign, however, Miller became Trump’s personal one-man hype crew, working up the crowds at Trump’s rallies into a frenzy before introducing the candidate to rapturous applause.
“I doubt I’ll ever come across another person who puts as much passion and intelligence to work for everyday Americans,” said LifeZette Senior Editor Garrett Murch, who worked with Miller in Sessions’ office for five years.
“Perhaps what was most impressive about him was his ability to grasp both the nuances and the big picture of policy and then detect bulls**t in the arguments of both the Democrats and Establishment Republicans,” Murch added.
Miller’s appointment should go far to assuage the fears of populist-minded conservatives who worry Donald Trump’s presidency will be hijacked by the GOP Establishment. Trump has made a number of recent appointments of individuals associated with the more Establishment and globalist tendencies of the GOP, such as ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson for secretary of state.
But with Miller leading policy in the Trump White House — and Steve Bannon leading strategy — chances of an Establishment, globalist takeover of the Trump presidency seem slim.