— Meg Wagner (@megwagner) August 2, 2017
The White House is regularly holding televised briefings again, which still comes as a surprise after the Spicer-era blackout, but Wednesday’s edition revolved around immigration. Senior Advisor Stephen Miller took the mic to promote Trump’s backing of a plan to slash legal immigration by 50% and use a “merit”-based system while favoring English speakers to do so. Miller, of course, was the architect of Trump’s first Muslim ban, and he got confrontational with Jim Acosta, who’s never afraid of a challenge but was aghast at the nature of the vitriol leveled against him.
The whole clip is amazing, including how Acosta quotes the “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses” Statue of Liberty quote while asking why the administration is changing the definition of what it means to be an immigrant entering the U.S. However, the Miller outrage really hits the fan at around 3:45 in the above clip when he accuses Acosta of being swayed by his own “cosmopolitan bias” — after Acosta asks why English speakers (presumably those from Great Britain and Australia) would be favored:
“I am shocked at your statement … that you would think that only people from Great Britain and Australia would speak English … it actually … it reveals your cosmopolitan bias to a shocking degree … this is an amazing moment …. that you think only people from Great Britain or Australia would speak English is so insulting to millions of hardworking immigrants who do speak English from all over the world. Jim, have you honestly never met an immigrant from another country who speaks English outside of Great Britain and Australia? Is that your personal experience?”
If you watch the clip during the “cosmopolitan bias” utterance, you’ll see Acosta shaking his head in disbelief and barely suppressing an eye roll. He assured Miller that, of course, he understands that English speakers hail from all over the world. Yet Miller continued while repeating the term as an insult, which is …. amusing when one considers how (as pointed out by the Boston Globe‘s Matt Viser and many others) Miller grew up in Santa Monica and attended an Ivy League-alternative university.
Miller’s appalled stance also follows his extensive history of being hostile to minorities and immigrants. He even got booed off a stage while delivering a racially charged speech during a high school election. The last time that the White House let Miller loose to challenge journalists on policy points, it did not go well, and he disappeared from the public eye for awhile. They let him loose again today, and, well, he hasn’t changed.