They don’t use him often, but top White House aide Stephen Miller has become President Trump’s “most effective weapon” when it comes to assailing critics and the media, according to insiders.
None more so than on Sunday when he made a rare TV appearance to attack “Fire and Fury” author Michael Wolff on CNN, considered by Team Trump as the most anti-Trump cable network.
Jake Tapper of Fake News CNN just got destroyed in his interview with Stephen Miller of the Trump Administration. Watch the hatred and unfairness of this CNN flunky!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 7, 2018
The focused Miller repeatedly ripped Wolff and CNN’s “salacious coverage’ of the book, and then was dismissed by host Jake Tapper who said, "I think I've wasted enough of my viewers' time. Thank you, Stephen.”
Trump was clearly watching the prize fight and tweeted, “Jake Tapper of Fake News CNN just got destroyed in his interview with Stephen Miller of the Trump Administration. Watch the hatred and unfairness of this CNN flunky!”
White House insiders and advisors said that by dispatching Miller to CNN, the president wanted to send a message that former top aide Steve Bannon, who Miller was close to, was officially being discarded for his criticism in "Fire and Fury" and that he wasn’t going to let media assaults go unanswered.
“Miller is one the administration’s most effective weapons. He’s used sparingly but by using him, a Bannon acolyte, was done to send clear sent a message that Bannon was officially out,” said a former Trump campaign aide.
“Some programs on CNN have become borderline unwatchable due to their hatred of this administration. It has gotten so bad that in the interview, Tapper didn’t even allow Miller to respond to the ridiculous charges. Miller has an audience of one, and he delivered spectacularly,” said a senior GOP congressional aide and Trump advisor.
Another Hill political insider said, “Miller is relentless: He thinks the press are wrong. Not opinionated but flat wrong. He comes across like correcting them is part of his duty. He’s therefore willing to strike back at press claims with gusto. So when you’re in a situation like they are with this book, who better than a team member who both distrusts like press and firmly believes it’s his mission to set the record right?”
He has his critics inside Trump World who feel he is too loyal to the president, but some said that his rejection of Bannon was a sign for others to follow suit and move on. "He probably volunteered to go on CNN to show that he and Bannon are no longer friendly colleagues and that he sands with Trump," said another White House advisor.
Miller recently told Secrets that he has little patience with the media’s coverage of his boss.
“Unfortunately, we live in the era of hyper advocacy journalism and a lot of outlets that have branded themselves for a very long time as being impartial are in fact the worst offenders in the field of hyper advocacy journalism. And that’s just the plain truth,” Miller said, adding, “The tone of sarcasm or even the tone of derision, and you just think to yourself how out of touch the group of people that talk about these issues are from the people who are most affected by them.”
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org