MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow interviewed the uncle of White House advisor Stephen Miller on Monday to detail the family's fascinating backstory.
"It begins at the turn of the 20th century, in a dirt-floor shack in the village of Antopol, a shtetl of subsistence farmers in what is now Belarus. Beset by violent anti-Jewish pogroms and forced childhood conscription in the Czar’s army, the patriarch of the shack, Wolf-Leib Glosser, fled a village where his forebears had lived for centuries and took his chances in America," Dr. David Glosser explained in Politico.
"He set foot on Ellis Island on January 7, 1903, with $8 to his name. Though fluent in Polish, Russian and Yiddish, he understood no English. An elder son, Nathan, soon followed. By street corner peddling and sweatshop toil, Wolf-Leib and Nathan sent enough money home to pay off debts and buy the immediate family’s passage to America in 1906. That group included young Sam Glosser, who with his family settled in the western Pennsylvania city of Johnstown, a booming coal and steel town that was a magnet for other hardworking immigrants. The Glosser family quickly progressed from selling goods from a horse and wagon to owning a haberdashery in Johnstown run by Nathan and Wolf-Leib to a chain of supermarkets and discount department stores run by my grandfather, Sam, and the next generation of Glossers, including my dad, Izzy," he explained.
"What does this classically American tale have to do with Stephen Miller? Well, Izzy Glosser is his maternal grandfather, and Stephen’s mother, Miriam, is my sister," he noted.
"Trump and my nephew both know their immigrant and refugee roots. Yet, they repeat the insults and false accusations of earlier generations against these refugees to make them seem less than human. Trump publicly parades the grieving families of people hurt or killed by migrants, just as the early Nazis dredged up Jewish criminals to frighten and enrage their political base to justify persecution of all Jews. Almost every American family has an immigration story of its own based on flight from war, poverty, famine, persecution, fear or hopelessness," he added.
Maddow asked him about Miller's efforts to end all refugee admittance into America.
"There is renewed concern over the treatment of immigrants and asylum seekers and kids being held on the border. The stories are devastating and it might be heartening to you to see renewed concern and the work happening and people protesting and see people holding vigils," the host noted.
"People care, as it turns out," Glosser replied. "Once you break it away from the idea that thousands and thousands of people are being injured, break it down to individual people and cases, it touches people and people will stand up and do the right thing -- if they have the essential moral values and they know what to do. They will do it."
"What's equally repugnant is the assumption, apparently, among the Trump Administration that somehow the majority of white Americans are racist when I don’t believe that to be the case," he argued.
"That being perhaps their own personal motivations. They may project that belief on to other people who do not share the feelings," the retired neuropsychologist suggested. "Mr. Trump owns that brand, he's proud of it and he’s not ashamed of it. He doesn’t know what the word shame means."
"Now we see that Mr. Trump and his minions have legitimized hatred as a means of gaining power and influence," he added.
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