The Electronic Intifada has uncovered evidence directly tying a senior adviser to President Donald Trump to neo-Nazi white supremacist Richard Spencer.
Spencer, the figurehead of the so-called "alt-right,” was notoriously caught on video after the November election bellowing "Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory!” as his supporters gave Nazi-style salutes.
An email obtained by The Electronic Intifada confirms that Stephen Miller, a senior adviser to Trump, worked directly with Spencer when the pair were at Duke University a decade ago.
In October, Spencer told Mother Jones magazine that he had worked with Miller to organize a debate on immigration sponsored by the Duke Conservative Union.
Miller sought to undercut the story at the time, asserting that Spencer’s "claims are 100 percent false.”
But Peter Laufer, now a senior professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, sent The Electronic Intifada a 26 March 2007 email from Spencer that corroborates Spencer’s personal connection to Miller.
Laufer was invited by the Duke Conservative Union to debate Peter Brimelow, an anti-immigrant activist who runs a website that frequently publishes work by white supremacists and anti-Semites.
Spencer’s email was addressed to Laufer and Brimelow and contained logistical details about their campus visit for the debate.
"Dear Peters,” Spencer began, "Your day will be free tomorrow until 5:00 pm. At that time, I’ll pick up both of you at the entrance to the Washington Duke Inn.”
The email specifies plans for Laufer and Brimelow and their wives to be taken to dinner at Vin Rouge, a restaurant in Durham, North Carolina.
Then, Spencer wrote: "At 6:45 Stephen Miller and I will leave early to do more set-up.”
Clearly, the two ultra-conservative Duke students worked closely together to make the immigration debate happen.
Spencer told Mother Jones in October: "It’s funny no one’s picked up on the Stephen Miller connection.”
He added, "I knew him very well when I was at Duke. But I am kind of glad no one’s talked about this because I don’t want to harm Trump.”
Though he denies being a neo-Nazi, Spencer’s ideas bear a clear resemblance to Nazi ideology. Spencer advocates for "an Aryan homeland for the supposedly dispossessed white race and calls for ‘peaceful ethnic cleansing’ to halt the ‘deconstruction’ of European culture,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks right-wing hate groups.
Spencer has called his ideology "white Zionism.”
"[Stephen] Miller did not respond on the record to specific questions about his activities with the [Duke Conservative Union] or his views on immigration, but he denied being close to Spencer,” Mother Jones reported in October.
"I have absolutely no relationship with Mr. Spencer,” Miller wrote in an email to Mother Jones. "I completely repudiate his views, and his claims are 100 percent false.’”
But the decade-old email located by Laufer lends considerable credence to Spencer’s claims of a close relationship to Miller.
Moreover, former members of the Duke Conservative Union recently recollected that Spencer and Miller did work together on the immigration debate. One former student, Bill English, told the Duke campus newspaper The Chronicle that he and Spencer "periodically played advisory roles” in the organization.
Author of Muslim ban
Miller’s connection to white supremacists such as Spencer and Brimelow becomes all the more important in light of Miller’s central role in authoring Friday’s executive order barring entry to nationals of seven countries, which many are calling a "Muslim ban.”
Trump had promised a ban on Muslims entering the US during his campaign.
Miller’s co-author on the executive order that has generated lawsuits, mass protests across the US and around the world and objections even from senior members of Trump’s Republican Party, is presidential adviser Steve Bannon.
Bannon previously headed Breitbart News, which was, in his words, "the platform for the alt-right” – the euphemism Spencer gives to his white supremacist movement.
Miller embodies the affinity between white supremacism and support for Israel’s ongoing dispossession of Palestinians.
As The Electronic Intifada reported last month, Miller traveled to Hebron and other parts of the occupied West Bank with Rabbi Ben Packer, an unabashedly racist settler and supporter of notorious anti-Palestinian Meir Kahane.
Packer styles himself the former "rabbi on campus” at Duke, though the university has denied he ever had any formal position.
"Stephen Miller is not just my friend, he’s not just our friend, he is us,” Packer wrote for the extremist Israeli website Arutz Sheva. "He is part of that new proud generation, no longer relegated to the fringe. His appointment is spectacular news for the Jewish people and he should be blessed with everything to do great things.”
In high school, Miller was already dismissive of the genocide of Native Americans, writing sarcastically, "we could have lived with the Indians, learning how to finger paint and make tepees, excusing their scalping of frontiersmen as part of their culture.”
His senior position in the White House is bad enough, but it also puts President Trump just one degree of separation away from Richard Spencer, the most notorious white supremacist of 2017.