On Tuesday, Hatewatch—a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center—unveiled the first in a series of stories based on a cache of hundreds of emails it reviewed between future White House senior adviser Stephen Miller, the architect of President Trump’s hardline immigration policies, of the far-right website Breitbart, whose executive chairman, Stephen Bannon, would go on to run Trump’s presidential campaign. 

At the time—in 2015 and 2016—Miller, an alumnus of Duke University, was working as an aide to the future attorney general and fellow anti-immigration crusader Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the first U.S. senator to endorse Trump’s presidential campaign. 

As Hatewatch reports: “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. … 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.”

This will be fun dive into the white nationalist cesspool. 

According to Katie McHugh, a former Breitbart editor who has renounced the far right after Breitbart fired her for a series of anti-Muslim tweets—there are no good actors in this story—the website’s higher-ups introduced her to Miller in 2015 with instructions that he would help direct the website’s reporting. (Nothing incestuous about that arrangement.) Sometimes, she would seek his advice on stories; other times, he would offer suggestions, either from his federal government account or personal Hotmail account (of course). 

Hatewatch says that of the nine hundred emails it reviewed, Miller fulminated about race or immigration in 80 percent of them, which perhaps suggests an unhealthy obsession. More important, McHugh told Hatewatch, “What Stephen Miller sent to me in those emails has become policy at the Trump administration.”

Let’s hit some highlights: 

On October 23, 2015, with Hurricane Patricia battering Central America and Mexico, McHugh asked Miller if the storm would lead to brown people migrating to the U.S. (Oh, the tragedy.) It would, Miller confirmed, sending her a link to the white-genocide-loving site VDARE. 

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 [temporary protected status, a policy that allows people affected by disasters to stay in the U.S.]. 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]

As Hatewatch notes, the VDARE story—by a guy who is very into “race science”—“focused on instances in which the United States offered refugees temporary protected status. … In September, the Trump administration denied temporary protected status to residents of the Bahamas fleeing the destruction of Hurricane Dorian despite widespread destruction.”

On September 6, 2015, Miller recommended that Breitbart write about the novel The Camp of the Saints, which, in Hatewatch’s telling, is “a racist French novel by Jean Raspail [that] 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.”

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 story linking the pope’s message to the racist novel eighteen days later. She now works in the White House. 

As Hatewatch reports, “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. [Steve] 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.”

On June 23, 2015, shortly after white nationalist Dylann Roof murdered nine black people in a South Carolina church, Miller bemoaned that that Amazon and other retailers were making efforts to remove the Confederate flag from their website and stores. 

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.’”

Miller, June 23, 2015, 3:31 p.m. ET: “[…] 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.”

They continued their conversation that evening. McHugh mentioned that Confederate monuments were being vandalized and sent him a link to a story about how Amazon had taken down the Confederate but was still selling “communist merchandise.”

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?”

Over the next few days, Miller couldn’t let it go. This email came 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?”

Another one: 

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?”

On August 4, 2015, Miller suggested eliminating immigration altogether and—as is common in white nationalist circles—praised an immigration law signed by President Coolidge in 1924 that was rooted in eugenics.

Some context: As Hatewatch points out, Coolidge was petrified by race-mixing, a view not uncommon in his time. In 1921, he wrote: “There are racial considerations too grave to be brushed aside for any sentimental reasons. “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.”

More important, the law he signed three years later was held up as a model by none other than Adolph Hitler. 

As Hatewatch writes: “In Mein Kampf, Hitler portrayed the U.S. law as a potential model for the Nazis in GermanyJames 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.’”

(Some additional context: Two months earlier, in June, Miller had emailed McHugh in response to an MSNBC story on Immigrant Heritage Month—he’s not a fan—telling her: “This would seem a good opportunity to remind people about the heritage established by Calvin Coolidge, which covers four decades of the 20th century.” The “four decades” refers to the time between the racist 1924 law and the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which abolished racial quotas. Coolidge’s “heritage,” as Hatewatch points out, is a eugenics-based immigration policy.)

The conversation in August is between McHugh, Miller, and Garrett Murch, another Sessions aide, about something Murch heard on the radio show of far-right pundit Mark Levin. 

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.”

Nine days later, Miller emailed McHugh to criticize John McCain and Lindsey Graham for being too sympathetic to refugees, again citing Coolidge. 

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?”

That exchange, McHugh says, led to a Breitbart story headlined: “Lindsey Graham: Pretty Poem Says USA Must Adopt Unknown Muslim Men from Jihad-Syria.”

Read the entire Hatewatch story here

Contact editor in chief Jeffrey C. Billman at jbillman@indyweek.com. 

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