What gives Miller his jollies

What’s the deal with Stephen Miller? How did he get to be a racist fanatic?

Jean Guerrero’s new book Hatemonger: Stephen Miller, Donald Trump, and the White Nationalist Agenda follows Miller through a conservative media landscape where key figures — including right-wing radio talk-show host Larry Elder; David Horowitz, who founded the David Horowitz Freedom Center; and former Breitbart chief Steve Bannon — propelled the rise of a man who now influences who gets to be an American.

“I just became all the more fascinated with trying to understand how a descendant of Jewish refugees who grew up in Southern California — how does that person become the person crafting Trump’s harshest rhetoric and policies, targeting people fleeing violence and persecution, people like his own great-grandparents?” Guerrero tells NPR.

Because he’d rather be doing the violence and persecution than fleeing it?

Guerrero has found that while Miller and Trump seem to work well together, they are different: “Stephen Miller is a true ideologue. He’s a fanatic. He believes this stuff, whereas Trump is a lot more motivated by self-interest. But you do see that these two men coming together … they’ve been able to mutually benefit each other in a very unique way. In part, because Stephen Miller gets Donald Trump.”

Trump is more motivated by self-interest but at the same time he does enjoy the racist taunting for its own sake. He hasn’t done all the Deep Reading Miller has, but he’s all about the contempt and bullying and general trashiness. For him it’s fun, for Miller it’s ideology.

David Horowitz was a big influence.

[It’s] apparent from private correspondence that David Horowitz shared with me for the book, where you could see for years, David Horowitz shaping Stephen Miller’s career throughout college, getting him his first job on Capitol Hill, shaping [Donald] Trump’s rhetoric and policies through Miller. And he introduces him from a very young age to this idea that everything that we hold dear as Americans — you know, equality and freedom — that all of these things are thanks to white men and that there’s this unfair war on whiteness. … Stephen Miller was really taken with this idea.

Equality and freedom like for instance Mississippi in, say, 1850? That kind of equality and freedom? Like the Fugitive Slave Act? Like the Dred Scott ruling? Like the Trail of Tears?

Steve Bannon, he remembers when he met Stephen Miller, he remembered listening to his voice on the Larry Elder show in Los Angeles. You know, like so many other key figures who played a key role in shaping Trumpism, he had heard Stephen Miller. So he decides to help Stephen Miller get a platform for his ideas through the right-wing blog Breitbart, which Bannon was the head of at the time. And so, initially Stephen Miller had had some trouble on Capitol Hill getting his ideas through to journalists. Like, at first, he had been trying to derail the nomination to the Supreme Court of Sonia Sotomayor — the first woman of Latin American heritage to be nominated — by saying that her Latin American heritage would interfere with her ability to be an unbiased judge. 

Oh? Why would Latin American heritage do that when Euro American heritage apparently wouldn’t? How about Jewish American heritage – does that interfere with people’s ability to be unbiased? How about Japanese American? African American? Russian American? It’s a puzzle.

Miller and Trump both love violence – fantasy violence, but they’re now in positions to translate that into real violence toward other people.

Stephen Miller and Donald Trump really share this morbid fascination with violence. And that’s why you see Stephen Miller contributing these very vivid descriptions of demonizing violence into Trump’s rhetoric, you know, talking about migrants slaughtering little girls and just stuff that is supposed to make you feel afraid, and hatred towards migrants. And the other thing about their relationship is Stephen Miller consistently pushes Trump in the most aggressive direction when it comes to immigration policy and when it comes to his rhetoric. And Trump has learned to appreciate that, because whenever he has listened to a more moderate adviser, he ends up getting ridiculed by his base as — by his very hard-core base — as weak. And Trump hates that. He wants to be seen as a killer. You see him talking about this throughout his life, the importance of being a killer.

In reality he’s a giant marshmallow, but he’s also a sadist. It’s what makes him so intensely repulsive.

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