Loathsome White House senior adviser Stephen Miller is clearly one of the driving forces behind President Donald Trump’s racist border wall madness. But if Trump is going to put him in front of TV cameras to defend his fraudulent “national emergency” declaration over a nonexistent immigration crisis, Miller will have to step up his game. Like, a lot.
The White House adviser was soundly schooled on Sunday by Fox News’ Chris Wallace, who confronted the cartoonish villain with actual facts about immigration to demonstrate that the Trump administration is utterly full of shit. Miller was left without much of an argument.
Right out of the gate, Wallace challenged Miller with Trump’s own words, which many have referred to as Exhibit A. “I didn’t need to do this,” Trump said on Friday while announcing the emergency declaration. “But I’d rather do it much faster.”
“How does that justify a national emergency?” Wallace asked.
Miller referred to U.S. troops along the border as justification, which is part of the Trump administration’s shell game about the so-called crisis.
“What the president was saying is, is that like past presidents, he could choose to ignore this crisis…but that’s not what he’s going to do,” Miller responded.
Wallace jumped in with the facts: Border stops of people illegally crossing are down by about 75% in the past 18 years; up to 90% of illicit drug seizures were at ports of entry, according to the government’s own statistics; and twice as many people who were in the country illegally in 2017 were here due to visa overstays, not crossings at the southern border.
“Again, where’s the national emergency to build a wall?” Wallace asked.
Miller attempted to isolate and obfuscate those facts one-by-one, tackling the first statistic by attacking former President George W. Bush, whom he accused of committing “an astonishing betrayal of the American people” by allegedly allowing undocumented immigration to double during his terms in office.
“I’m not going to sit here today and tell you that George Bush defended this country on the southern border, because he did not,” Miller said.
He added that the “mass release” of detained migrants and changing tactics by smugglers explained the decreasing border detention stats, although that reasoning is highly nonsensical.
Wallace grilled him again with the numbers. Miller blamed “loopholes,” “activist judicial rulings,” and “increasing sophistication from cartels.” But he didn’t answer the question.
Miller then bragged, “We could go down to the details, and you know, Chris, I could go down to details as much as you want to.”
“Please don’t,” Wallace replied.
The Fox News Sunday host later noted that national emergencies have been declared 59 times since 1976 when the National Emergencies Act was passed. “Can you point to a single instance, even one, where the president asked Congress for money, Congress refused to give him that money, and the president then invoked national emergency powers to get the money?” Wallace asked.
Miller tried to turn the tables: “Chris, can you name one foreign threat in the world today outside this country’s borders that currently kills more Americans than the threats crossing our southern border?”
Wallace didn’t bite: “You know, the joy of this is I get to ask you questions, you don’t get to ask me.” Wallace repeated his question. Miller dodged it. “Just yes or no, sir,” Wallace pleaded.
From that point on, Miller was visibly irate, practically shouting his talking points. Wallace smirked, just a little, likely realizing he had gotten under Miller’s skin, which I imagine is a satisfying feeling.
Wallace also wanted to know how many miles of border wall Trump could build with $8 billion in appropriated funding, and how quickly.
“You’re looking at hundreds of miles collectively,” Miller said. But when? By the middle of the middle of the 2020 presidential campaign, Wallace said, answering his own question.
The last question was whether Trump would veto a bipartisan disapproval resolution against the emergency declaration. Miller implied that Trump would, and added: “This is a deep intellectual problem that is plaguing this city, which is that we’ve had thousands of Americans die year after year after year because of threats crossing our southern border. We have families and communities that are left unprotected and undefended and we have international narcoterrorist organizations. This is a threat in our country…And if the president can’t defend this country, then he cannot fulfill his constitutional oath of office.”
Something tells me the courts are going to rip these guys to shreds.