When it comes to keeping cool during a White House press briefing, senior adviser to the president Stephen Miller apparently learned little from the mistakes of those who came before him.
The White House previously sidelined Sean Spicer when he was press secretary, partly due to his heated exchanges with reporters, but that didn’t stop Miller from talking over and eventually loudly demeaning two reporters in dramatic, heated exchanges during the Wednesday afternoon White House press briefing.
Miller joined press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders for the daily briefing to discuss an immigration overhaul initiative introduced today by President Trump and Sens. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and David Perdue (R-GA). When questioned on the overhaul, called the RAISE Act, Miller lashed out at two White House correspondents, the New York Times’s Glenn Thrush and CNN’s Jim Acosta.
In the first exchange, Thrush asked Miller to present studies with specific statistics that supported the belief that low-skilled immigrants were taking jobs from American workers. Miller snapped at Thrush, saying: “Maybe we’ll make a carve-out in the bill that says the New York Times can hire all the low-skilled, less-paid workers from other countries and see how you feel then about low-wage substitution.”
In the second exchange, Acosta asked a question about a policy to only let in English-speaking immigrants. He quoted “The New Colossus,” the famous poem engraved on the Statue of Liberty, before saying, “It doesn’t say anything about speaking English or being able to be a computer programmer. Aren’t you trying to change what it means to be an immigrant?”
Miller disputed Acosta’s follow-up points on historic trends in immigration to the US; then Acosta asked, trying to return to the point about English-speaking immigrants, “Are we just going to bring in people from Great Britain and Australia?” adding that it sounded to him like “racial and ethnic” engineering. Miller’s response escalated quickly: “That is one of the most outrageous insulting, ignorant, and foolish things you’ve ever said.” He also snapped that the question about Great Britain and Australia revealed Acosta’s “cosmopolitan bias.”