My son-in-law just reminded me that Stephen Miller, a co-author of Trump’s unconstitutional and racist ban on Muslims entering America, was John Shadegg’s press secretary during my race against him. Which makes for perhaps the easiest exercise in dot connecting ever. Dots we should have connected years ago.
Although under-reported by the media, Shadegg was a raging Islamaphobe. I learned this about midway through the campaign, when he used his two-minute speech at the annual AIPAC breakfast in 2008 to tout two books: Knowing the Enemy and America Alone. Later that day, a Google search revealed that Shadegg was pimping those books every chance he got. Although I was inundated with reading material related to the campaign, I felt compelled to read them.
I’m glad I did. I could never have known who I was running against without doing so. I never understood, however, that he was under the spell of a 23 year-old monster.
The first book, Knowing the Enemy, used the age-old technique of strip quoting from a holy book, in this case, the Koran, to cast the members of a religion in a bad light. The second, America Alone, tried to ring the alarm bells that Muslims had a higher fertility rate than all of our allies in the developed world. The author even went so far as to explain away Serbian atrocities in Bosnia because Muslims were breeding too fast. Muslims, according to the author, were a monolithic force that would take control of Western Europe, leaving America alone in the defense of Western values.
Miller graduated from college in 2007 and went to work for Shadegg and Michele Bachmann soon thereafter. Did those book recommendations come from Miller? I’ll never know for sure, but I know which way I’d bet. I know that the small group of Republican House members who became inordinately vocal in their Islamophobia shortly after Miller arrived included both Shadegg and Bachmann.
Indeed, in 2009, Shadegg, Bachmann, and two other GOP reps held a press conference to accuse the Council on American Islamic Relations, CAIR, of sending interns to work in congressional offices in order to spy on them. The charges of course proved baseless. Bachmann went on an additional witch hunt a few years later, accusing Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abdin of being linked to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Here’s where the dots get interesting: Shadegg and Mike Pence were BFFs. When Shadegg announced his retirement in early 2008, Pence hand carried a letter for signature by all his Republican House colleagues asking Shadegg to reconsider. He did. Miller started with Trump in early 2016. By the time Pence was tapped as VP, Miller was a key player on Trump’s team. At a minimum, Miller was comfortable that Pence would not object to Miller’s Islamophobic, xenophobic agenda. More likely, Pence was Miller’s choice. After all, he knew Pence far better than anyone else in Trump’s inner circle.
Miller by all appearances is exceedingly talented in a supremely evil way. Beginning in his early 20’s, he’s exercised monstrous powers of persuasion over high ranking politicians; first Shadegg, a member of the GOP’s house leadership, then Sessions, and finally Trump. All by his 31st birthday.
Was this foreseeable, back in 2008? Absolutely. As a 23 year-old, Miller inspired a small gang of Congressional reps to embark on an Islamphobic witch hunt and promote the writings of the racist fringe. All you had to do was (1) read Shadegg’s book recommendations and (2) know who was influencing him. I got the first part of that 9 years ago, but had no clue about the second. Until now.
Now, we’re witnessing the havoc that a still exceedingly young Stephen Miller is wreaking. Imagine what the future holds if he’s allowed to amass more power. Make no mistake. He must be neutralized politically in any way possible and as soon as possible. He’s a threat to our society, with unlimited potential to do harm.