Let’s get right to it. I asked Jean Guerrero whether she thinks President Donald Trump’s senior adviser Stephen Miller is racist toward Mexicans.
The San Diego area-based journalist — who has just written an important book about the most controversial adviser in the Trump White House — initially tried to dodge the question by falling back on her training.
“One of the reasons that we as journalists refrain from using terms like ‘racist’ is that we don’t know what’s in people’s hearts or in people’s heads,” Guerrero said. “But I believe that racism can be about actions. It can be about words that you communicate. If you’re talking about racism in that sense, then you can call Stephen Miller a racist. Because he has throughout his life expressed racist beliefs and acted in a racist way.”
The book is provocatively titled “Hate Monger: Stephen Miller, Donald Trump, and the White Nationalist Agenda.” The 32-year-old Mexican American journalist has spent several years covering the U.S.-Mexico border and immigration. Yet she started out skeptical of the idea that Miller — who is a couple of years older than Guerrero and grew up not far from her in Southern California — hates Mexicans.
Based on an exhaustive amount of research, the book helps readers understand one of the most consequential figures in Washington.
Miller essentially runs immigration policy for the White House and, by extension, the entire administration. The firebrand also moonlights as the Minister of Division. Americans are at each other’s throats over everything from tearing down statues to wearing masks. And it’s fair to say that much of that is Trump’s handiwork — which is to say, Miller’s mischief making.
Perhaps Miller’s most important role is that he’s the real Trump Whisperer. He has his ear to the ground with MAGA voters. I sometimes think that every time a white person anywhere in America complains about anything, a light goes off in Miller’s office. The White Avenger is constantly reintroducing the president to his base.
Guerrero tried to interview Miller, or get someone in the White House to comment. No such luck. I asked the author why, in the book’s title, she decided to use a loaded word such as “hate.”
“Hate is rooted in a sense of superiority and a sense of entitlement,” Guerrero said. “Hate makes you want to harm. And when you look at the performatively cruel policies that Trump has been responsible for, you realize that he needs to rally that hatred for people to cheer him — policies like separating children from their parents and turning away the world’s most desperate and vulnerable people who come as refugees.”
Guerrero’s book is required reading for anyone who wants to better understand how our “one nation, indivisible,” became so divided. After all, that’s the first step in gluing back together what Miller — and the occupant of the Oval Office — helped shatter.
Ruben Navarrette’s email address is email@example.com.