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Stephen Miller: The origins of Trump's hater in chief

Jean Guerrero's new book exposed Miller's hate-mongering for millions of other immigrants who are the victims of US racist warmongering around the globe
White House senior adviser Stephen Miller on 27 July (AFP)

I have always admired writers who collect their courage and read and write about wicked people - people whose diabolical thoughts and deeds have been the source of such terror on this earth many writers rightly divert their gaze and avoid looking at them closely.

I admire them because I can never do what they do: plunge into the hellhole of wicked characters to see how they turned out to be the fiends that they are.

A recent book on Stephen Miller, the senior policy advisor embedded in US President Donald Trump’s White House and who holds white supramacist and racist views, has received much deserving praise and necessary attention in these waning days of his first term of a criminal presidency.

Jean Guerrero’s Hatemonger: Stephen Miller, Donald Trump, and the White Nationalist Agenda unfolds like a horror show. People with a heart condition should be warned before reading this book.  

The ban architect

Consider yourself blessed if you have not yet heard of Miller - an avowed white supremacist Islamophobe and chief advisor to Trump on draconian anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant measures. He is understood to be the architect behind hardline immigration policies including banning families from joining their loved one in the US, separating children from their parents at the border, incarcerating them in what have rightly been called "concentration camps". The depth of this man’s dreadful deeds remains unfathomable to any decent human being.    

Jean Guerrero is the daughter of a Mexican immigrant using the gift of her love for her parental culture to diagnose the disease of the architect behind Trump's immigration policies

Who is Jean Guerrero? A brave and brilliant journalist who dared to plunge into the depth of Miller's perturbed soul, like a daring climber lowering herself into the deepest layers of a hellish volcano, reporting back to us what she has seen. The result is a superb piece of investigative journalism that should be read and studied in journalism schools around the world.    

Before I read Guerrero's book on Miller I went back and read her first book, Crux: A Cross-Border Memoir (2018) - and everything made perfect sense. With a prose matching the legendary Latin American genre of magic realism, Guerrero tells us the story of her troubled father oscillating between madness and love, delusion and truth, sanity and insanity, to discover who her father was and what a life between and over borderlines mean.  

It is the sensitivity evident in this love letter of a daughter to her troubled father that Guerrero brings to unpacking the cancerous disease of hatred in Miller. She is the daughter of a Mexican immigrant using the gift of her love for her parental culture to diagnose the disease of a hatemonger in a position of power.  

The master and the disciple

As I began to read her book, I came across an essay she published in Politico highlighting a major discovery of the lineage of Miller’s revolting racism.

Jean Guerrero's book cover

Lo and behold his guru is someone in plain sight - the nefarious David Horowitz, the Zionist Islamophobe, whose claim to fame is a degenerate book he wrote, The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America, in which he slanders and seeks to defame some of the most progressive critical thinkers of our time, and by attacking them sought to create a name for himself.  

Among Horowitz’s targets were - of course - me and many of my colleagues at Columbia. Our sin? Having spoken boldly and loudly on behalf of Palestinian rights. In her Politico essay, Guerrero reveals how some 20 years ago Miller had become infatuated with Horowitz and eventually his guru saw him through as he climbed the ladder to Trump’s White House.  

Guerrero, however, makes a crucial compromise by calling Horowitz "an anti-immigration activist".

This man is not just anti-immigration. He was once dubbed the godfather of the anti-Muslim movement in the US. Horowitz, Miller, and their ilk have historically cornered the public opinion market in the United States, even penetrating the civil rights movement - except of course for the revolutionary giant Malcolm X whom they could not fool with their chicaneries.  

The delusional Zionists

What Guerrero’s book reveals but does not drive home is the animus behind Horowitz and Miller’s hate-mongering. These characters look at every Arab or Muslim or even African or Latin American immigrant as a potential Edward Said or Joseph Massad that will become a thorn in their side threatening to expose their bigotry and racism.

Hundreds of people gather in front of U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer's Brooklyn apartment to protest the migrant detention facilities on July 02, 2019 in New York City
Hundreds of people gather in front of US Senator Chuck Schumer's Brooklyn apartment to protest the migrant detention facilities on 2 July 2019 in New York City (AFP)

This is why Horowitz and his protege Miller hate new immigrants, Arabs and Muslims in particular. Their racist white supremacy hate-mongering has a sharp edge which is anti-Palestinian, anti-Arab, and Islamophobic.  

The trouble with Zionists and their white supremacist supporters and kindred souls is that they are clueless about what is happening under their radar in this very United States, this territory they think they have politically occupied, in which they can silence people just by throwing the false accusation of "anti-Semism".  

They may silence a Muslim, but a Mexican will soon start decoding their criminal disposition.  

Exposing hate

Guerrero goes after Miller and exposes the very DNA of his racism because of the memory of her father, just as millions of Muslims and other new immigrants would do the same for their children. It is good that Guerrero’s agenda was not to expose Miller’s Zionism; rather she exposes his hate-mongering for millions of other immigrants who are the victims of US racist warmongering around the globe.

It is good that Guerrero’s agenda was not to expose Miller’s Zionism; rather she exposes his hate-mongering for millions of other immigrants who are the victims of US racist warmongering around the globe

Her book thus comes to expose Zionism from the left field.  

Guerrero is not a Palestinian, or Arab, or Muslim. She is the descendent of masses of millions of Latin American immigrants escaping the tyrannies the US has historically enabled. But in Miller and Horowitz she saw and exposed two Islamophobes that have penetrated the highest offices of this country. 

There is a direct link between Guerrero’s first and second book, one written out of love, and the other to expose hate. These are two boldly empowering and mighty forces too great to contain in any concentration camp on the US-Mexican border.  

Those who have been silencing resistance to the occupation of Palestinian lands by helping spread racism and Islamophobia in the US have more than Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims on their case.  

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

Hamid Dabashi
Hamid Dabashi is Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University in the City of New York. His latest books include Reversing the Colonial Gaze: Persian Travelers Abroad (Cambridge University Press, 2020), and The Emperor is Naked: On the Inevitable Demise of the Nation-State (Zed, 2020). His forthcoming book, On Edward Said: Remembrance of Things Past, is scheduled to be released by Haymarket Books later this year.