- CNN anchor Kate Bolduan defended White House adviser Stephen Miller against the charge that he is a “white nationalist.”
- Miller has long been one a driving force behind President Donald Trump’s immigration policies, including the travel ban, construction of a border wall, and migrant family separation.
- The CNN segment came days after White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked to leave a Virginia restaurant because of her work for the Trump administration.
- The incident that has sparked a heated debate about civility in politics.
During Bolduan’s Monday show, immigration attorney David Leopold described Miller, a longtime top aide to the president and an outspoken immigration hardliner, as a white nationalist.
Bolduan quickly cut him off.
“I don’t know if you want to go as far as – I mean, let’s not – I just did an entire segment about civility here,” she said. “I don’t know if you want to call Stephen Miller a white nationalist.”
Leopold replied that he wasn’t insulting Miller, but instead reciting a fact.
“It’s not an uncivil thing, I would argue that it’s a fact,” Leopold said.
Bolduan said she had not seen evidence to support Leopold’s assertion – to which the attorney responded that she just has to look at “the types of policies we’ve seen from this administration” and “who’s being targeted.”
The two went on to discuss President Donald Trump’s Sunday tweets asserting that the US should deport immigrants who enter the US illegally with no legal process.
Some voices on the left defended Leopold’s characterization of Miller, arguing that his key role in the creation of the administration’s immigration policies reflects that ideology and that it is not uncivil to state facts, no matter how uncomfortable they may be.
“This is a perfect example of the inability to understand ‘white nationalist’ or ‘racist’ as a analysis of an ideology and not some insult,” tweetedJamelle Bouie, Slate’s chief political analyst.
Splinter’s Clio Chang echoed that sentiment, writing, “White nationalism is an ideology. Calling someone a white nationalist – whether or not they like being called that – when they are pushing for and implementing white nationalist policy is a factual statement.”
Miller has long served as one of Trump’s top advisers on immigration policy. He has supported his calls to build a wall on the US-Mexico border, helped craft the administration’s controversial travel ban and proposal to slash legal immigration, and led the charge to implement a “zero tolerance” policy on the border, which involved separating migrant children from their parents. The White House aide has also been endorsed by white nationalist leaders, including Richard Spencer, whom Miller got to know as an undergraduate at Duke University.
CNN anchor: "I just did an entire segment about civility here, I don't know if you want to call Stephen Miller a white nationalist" pic.twitter.com/iXAhpBBynX
— John Whitehouse (@existentialfish) June 25, 2018
The CNN segment came days after White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked to leave a Virginia restaurant because of the business’s objections to the Trump administration.
“This feels like the moment in our democracy when people have to make uncomfortable actions and decisions to uphold their morals,” Stephanie Wilkinson, the restaurant’s owner, told The Washington Post.
The president waded into the debate that followed, basing his criticism, apparently, on photos of the Red Hen restaurant’s exterior.
“The Red Hen Restaurant should focus more on cleaning its filthy canopies, doors and windows (badly needs a paint job) rather than refusing to serve a fine person like Sarah Huckabee Sanders,” Trump tweeted. “I always had a rule, if a restaurant is dirty on the outside, it is dirty on the inside!”
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