Yeah, good luck with that, buddy. If Corey Lewandowski could earn brownie points with Trump just by womp-womping at the misfortune of a little girl, how many brownie points has Miller earned by spearheading the child separation policy? By the logic of TrumpWorld, maximum “political incorrectness” is a virtue even it produces a political fiasco that you’re forced to hurriedly undo for fear of the political consequences. Even if Trump wanted to fire Miller for terrible judgment, his base would have a conniption. Coulter would set herself on fire.
or some other senior leadership figure on the job of making sure each and every child is returned to their parents. And the President should fire Stephen Miller now. This is a human rights mess. It is on the President to clean it up and fire the people responsible for making it.
— Rep. Mike Coffman (@RepMikeCoffman) June 21, 2018
Coffman is famously one of the most vulnerable Republicans in the country, which makes this post something of a sequel to my last one about the House immigration bill. Republican centrists are desperate to show their constituents that they’re different from POTUS on this issue, fearing that a backlash to Trumpy border policies will sink them in November. Solution: Bring a bill to the floor that contains amnesty for DREAMers, even if it has no hope of passing the Senate, and vote yes yes yes. Coffman’s going the extra mile, though, by calling for Miller’s defenestration. Miller is a hate object for the left, the Bannon-esque avatar of populist border restrictions. Coffman’s signaling as loudly as he can to Democratic critics back home that, in their death struggle with Miller, he’s on their side.
But never mind the electoral strategizing. As a matter of simple political accountability, Trump would be within his rights to cashier a guy who led him down a policy path that sent other vulnerable Republicans running away screaming and put POTUS himself in the embarrassing position of having to reverse course to limit the damage. Nor is it the first time Miller’s had his fingerprints in a political fiasco for Trump. The initial travel ban championed by him and Bannon last January was poorly drafted, implemented chaotically, and had to be redrafted twice to try to pass court muster. Rich Lowry on the current fiasco:
Customs and Border Protection isn’t going to refer adults with children for prosecution, thus ending the application of “zero tolerance” to adults with kids. No mechanism currently exists to get people from DHS custody to courthouses for court dates, so there is no plausible way to hold families together while prosecuting adults. Plus, the adults who were going over to criminal custody will be transferred over to already overwhelmed DHS facilities, meaning lots of people will simply be released.
The administration will probably try to rapidly build tent cities and hold migrants in 20-day increments, hoping they will come up with a way to criminally charge the adults and resolve asylum claims quickly, but this seems unlikely (and the optics will open it up to continued attack). The administration hasn’t just lost this battle in a rout, but in a manner that may harm its cause in the larger war over immigration policy and enforcement. It’s quite simply a debacle.
Miller has enemies around, if not in, the White House who’d love to see him go over this. A jaw-dropping quote from an “outside White House advisor” to Vanity Fair: “Stephen actually enjoys seeing those pictures at the border… He’s a twisted guy, the way he was raised and picked on. There’s always been a way he’s gone about this. He’s Waffen-SS.” Good lord. Exaggerated as that may be, though, the idea that Miller is unperturbed by what’s happening is part of the reason Trump won’t fire him. It goes back to this post. Only a man willing to go so far as to tear kids away from their parents can be trusted to show resolve in resisting Democratic and media pressure to make immigration concessions to the left. He fights. And he’s useful to Trump as a talisman if nothing else: Even if POTUS isn’t paying attention to him, so long as he’s on staff the Coulters of the world will be satisfied that Trump’s still on Team Nationalist in border enforcement. To borrow Anne Applebaum’s phrase, Miller is a sort of living, breathing “vice-signaling” that Trump will do whatever it takes (except, apparently, separate kids from parents) to enforce the border.
Just to remind you of what’s waiting for America on the other end of the political spectrum from Miller, here’s progressive heartthrob Cynthia Nixon calmly telling an audience on “The View” this morning that it’s time to abolish ICE. No joke. Apparently her core concern with immigration is making sure illegals have driver’s licenses.