Could Stephen Miller Replace the Mooch? – Vanity Fair
Nationalist hardliner Stephen Miller was reportedly greeted as a hero in the White House after a public clash with CNN’s Jim Acosta in the White House briefing room Wednesday, when the two sparred over President Donald Trump’s proposal to slash legal immigration. Acosta, questioning why the administration would exclude people who don’t speak English, accused Miller of “trying to engineer the racial and ethnic flow of people into this country.” Miller, who was raised in Santa Monica and got his undergraduate degree at Duke, shot back that Acosta was harboring “cosmopolitan bias.”
Not everyone was thrilled with the theatrics, but in Trump’s White House, staffers are always performing for an audience of one. And Trump, it seems, was pleased with his senior policy adviser’s combative seven minute showdown with the “fake news” reporter. Top Trump sources tell Axios’s Mike Allen that Miller is now a contender for the role of White House communications director, which has been unfilled since newly-installed Chief of Staff John Kelly abruptly fired Anthony Scaramucci on Monday. Trump national security aide Sebastian Gorka said Miller received high-fives after the briefing.
Whether Miller would be effective as communications director is another question. When he worked for then-Senator Jeff Sessions, Miller had a link to conservative blogosphere kingpin Matt Drudge, and was known for aggressively pitching media outlets, Allen notes. He’s not a communications professional, but he’s played well for Trump, and that may be all that matters. Scaramucci, better known as the Mooch, also found his star suddenly elevated after a string of television performances that caught the president’s eye (Gorka, too, has found a place within the administration as one of Trump’s media bulldogs).
What all that amounts to remains to be seen. “The effort to find a Mooch successor is still in the name-gathering process, and Miller is not the top contender,” sources told Allen. But stranger things—like Trump firing Scaramucci after just 10 days in the West Wing—have happened. Either way, expect to see more of Miller as the administration ramps up its new anti-immigration efforts.
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