That’s not, to put it mildly, the story preoccupying the media right now. Over the last few weeks, Trump’s White House has exploded in chaos and infighting—a situation Miller exacerbated by helping to mastermind the sudden and much-criticized rollout of Trump’s Jan. 27 executive order banning refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries, which federal judges swiftly blocked. In fact, it was no accident that the order was sprung without warning on a Friday afternoon. Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon arranged the timing in the expectation that opponents, freed from work on the weekend, would stage huge protests—drawing maximum attention and galvanizing Trump supporters as the president followed through on a controversial campaign promise, says a senior administration official.
The order did indeed spark nationwide demonstrations, but things veered off script from there, as the White House struggled to explain to law enforcement officials, federal agencies, and foreign governments what the hastily drafted document did and didn’t say. Miller in particular became the target of withering attacks by everyone from Republican elected officials to Stephen Colbert, host of The Late Show, which did a skit featuring Miller’s severed—but still talking—head on a spike. Joe Scarborough, the co-host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, with whom Trump has a complicated psychological fascination, spent days deriding Miller, whom he dubbed “Little Napoleon.” Yet not only has Miller survived the uproar and calls for his firing but he appears to be ascendant at a time when other West Wing staffers are diving for cover.