The White House Press Briefing hit a new low today, as Presidential staff writer Stephen Miller used snark and insults to drown out reporters’ questions and loudly talked over them, firing rhetorical questions from the repeating rifle of his mouth.
The gist of this street fight which was supposed to be communication, was that the White House, in sympathy for angry and unemployed blue collar Americans, is intent on halving the number of immigrants admitted to the country, and is intent of taking only highly-skilled immigrants with advanced degrees who are fluent in English. These immigrants will be allowed to bring their spouse and children, but that’s all. No grandparents. No brothers and sisters. No great aunts.
Jim Acosta of CNN, whose own parents immigrated in the 1960s, pressed Miller, using the famed Emma Lazarus words etched on the Statue of Liberty, ‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free . . .”
Miller rejected them as, too new (not on the Statue from its beginning), too cosmopolitan (meaning, I suppose, not rural enough), and not historic in that there has always been tension among Americans about who we let in, and how many.
When Acosta asked, “What about letting them learn English after they get here? And does this mean we will only take in people from England and Australia?”, Miller feigned outrage that Acosta does not know people from countries all over the world who speak English.
But what Acosta was trying to get at was, are poor people still welcome here? And clearly, the answer is No. Miller’s plan calls for immigrants to be able to pay for their health insurance from Day One, to have a job lined up before they come, and to hold degrees.
This used to be called a Brain Drain, and it used to be something we did not want to do to Third World Countries, whose smaller percentage of educated people were vital to the management of their own economies.But it gives Trump and the GOP one advantage: these new immigrants, already economically successful, will likely vote Republican when granted citizenship. The poor traditionally became Democrats.
All of this is red meat for Trump’s base, thrown out on the day when new Chief of Staff John Kelly called AG Jeff Sessions to tell him his job was secure, and also got Trump to sign the bill Congress voted through applying more restrictions to Russia and new restrictions on the President’s ability to lift restrictions.
So the immigrants became fodder for right wing hungers on a day when diplomacy was reasserted in the White House.
God help us if Stephen Miller becomes Director of Communications. Anthony Scaramucci, for all his vulgarity, did, in his few days’ tenure as Director of Communications, insist on politeness, even kindness, between the communications staff and the press. Maybe if we are lucky, Chief of Staff Kelly will fire Miller for rudeness, and for a complete inability to listen to a question and answer it. And maybe not. ‘Cuz, I bet Trump loved every minute of Miller’s acid put downs.
Meanwhile, the press have unearthed an incipient plan by the White House to press a suit in court charging that white college applicants are victims of policies that seek to balance classes racially through use of Affirmative Action.
It certainly does seem that the new immigration policy dovetails nicely with the White House’ desire to reduce the proportion of foreign-born among us, and to increase the percentage of low-paying jobs for American born blacks, Hispanics, and Asians, while highly educated Americans will now have to compete with highly educated immigrants who may well be willing to work for less pay.
Image: Stephen Miller, White House Writer. Wikipedia Image.