In recent weeks, after a series of failures to pick up delegates and embarrassing distractions arising from the behavior of his top campaign aide , Donald Trump has attempted to restructure his senior campaign team .
But Trump’s senior policy adviser, Stephen Miller, may be bringing his own baggage to Trump Tower, in the form of more than two dozen columns he wrote for his college newspaper a decade ago.
Miller, who attended Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, has been a member of the billionaire Republican frontrunner’s team since January, when he left the office of Alabama senator Jeff Sessions to serve as Trump’s No1 adviser on foreign and domestic policy.
Most of his work has been behind the scenes, although he gained notoriety in March when he laughingly told CNN Trump’s retweet of an unflattering photograph of Heidi Cruz, wife of opponent Senator Ted Cruz, “speaks for itself”.
Trump’s senior policy adviser appears not to have changed much since his days at Duke.
His columns for The Chronicle range in subject from multiculturalism (which he calls “ segregation ”); to paid family leave (which results in men “getting laid off because [their] boss was losing too much money by paying absent employees ”); to the Duke lacrosse scandal (“a large number of people – instead of rejoicing at our peers’ innocence – will insist it is a conspiracy of white privilege ”).
The columns offer a revealing glimpse into the opinions and ideology of Trump’s top policy adviser, and the sort of advice the presidential hopeful might be getting.
In addition to standard college newspaper fare – an essay about town-gown relations in which Miller details the “ condescension ” inherent in giving a janitor a birthday card – Miller’s 25 columns, written between September 2005 and April 2007, frequently touch on hot-button issues.
On torture, for example, Miller writes that criticism of the use of enhanced interrogation techniques by American soldiers made then-senator Ted Kennedy “ a traitor ”, and that comparing the actions of the US military with those of its enemies means “you have betrayed your nation and are morally guilty of treason”.
Most of Miller’s writings, however, are concerned with the culture wars, particularly matters of race. In an article titled “Paranoia”, Miller writes that “ racial paranoia ” – belief in systematic racism – does a “tremendous disservice” not only to those accused of harboring racist beliefs, but to racial minorities as well.
“It saps their motivation and has devastating results on their potential for success,” he writes.
Another piece concerns the Duke lacrosse scandal , which involved now-disproven allegations of sexual assault against a sex worker. In the column, titled “Racial Hypocrisy”, Miller declares that the true instigators of racial prejudice were those agitating against the Duke team.
“There is racial disharmony in our society,” Miller writes . “And if they want to know the cause, they need look no further than the mirror.”
The concept of a broader campaign against traditional values is a frequent theme in Miller’s work. In one piece in which he calls the entertainment industry “the left’s most influential resource”, after the education system, Miller intimates that Hollywood elites are engaged in a pro-LGBT conspiracy to force societal acceptance.
“Shows like Queer As Folk, The L Word, Will & Grace and Sex and the City all do their part to promote alternative lifestyles and erode traditional values,” Miller writes.
Miller, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment, appears to have relished the reputation his columns established on campus.
“As a deeply committed conservative who considers it his responsibility to do battle with the left,” he writes in his farewell column , being a “controversial figure” at Duke “is not in the least surprising”.
In a jeremiad against political correctness redolent of his future employer, Miller writes that “politically correct dictates are anathema to American values”.
He continues: “Inside our borders, the nation of e pluribus unum [out of many, one] threatens to be fractured across ethnic lines by racial animus and divisive multiculturalism. We suffer from sagging patriotism, growing malaise and a loss of faith in the noble history and principles that have made us great.”
Many who once wrote for their college newspaper may look back at such scribblings with regret. But if Miller’s current statements as the top policy adviser to the Republican frontrunner are any indication, his opinions have not changed much.
At a campaign event on 3 April, he said that Cruz, Trump’s main opponent for the nomination, was an “Obama ally” who supported a “policy of mass migration”.
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