Fox News commentator Eric Bolling harshly criticised White House adviser Stephen Miller for his altercation with a CNN reporter at Wednesday’s press briefing.
“Listen, he’s a brilliant guy, he’s a great policy adviser,” Bolling said on “The Fox News Specialists.”
“He is not a communications person. Don’t put that guy in front of the cameras again.”
At the briefing, Acosta questioned whether the White House’s new immigration policy, unveiled earlier on Wednesday, was “trying to change what it means to be an immigrant” by favouring immigrants who spoke English and had higher levels of education and job skills. In his question, Acosta cited an inscription on the Statue of Liberty that reads “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”
Miller fired back at Acosta, launching into a testy back-and-forth that lasted several minutes.
“I don’t want to get off into a whole thing about history here, but the Statue of Liberty is a symbol of liberty and lighting in the world, it’s a symbol of American liberty lighting the world,” Miller said. “The poem that you’re referring to was added later. It’s not actually part of the Statue of Liberty.”
Miller also aggressively challenged Acosta when the reporter asked if the White House policy would restrict immigration to those from English-speaking places such as Great Britain and Australia.
“Jim, I am shocked at your statement that you think that only people from Great Britain and Australia would know English,” Miller said. “It reveals your cosmopolitan bias to a shocking degree.”
For Bolling, Miller’s spat was a distraction from an immigration policy he praised as “really, really important for the country.”
“The message gets stepped on because everyone is going to play that interchange with Acosta instead of talking about how great this immigration policy is,” Bolling said.
“They really have to fix their communications department.”
It wasn’t Acosta’s first tussle with the White House. In January, during Donald Trump’s first press conference as president-elect, Trump cut off Acosta as the reporter attempted to ask a question about Russia, admonishing him as “fake news.”
It also wasn’t Miller’s only controversial outing in front of the cameras. The adviser alarmed constitutional experts in February when, during a defence of Trump’s travel ban, said, “Our opponents, the media and the whole world will soon see as we begin to take further actions, that the powers of the president to protect our country are very substantial and will not be questioned.”