White House policy adviser Stephen Miller is reportedly under consideration to fill the role of White House communications director in place of Anthony Scaramucci, who exited last week in a hail of expletives after only 10 days in the job.
According to a report Saturday in Axios that quoted sources close to US President Donald Trump, Miller is not the top contender for the post, and efforts are still focusing on building a list of candidates.
Miller, who is popular in alt-right anti-immigration circles, enjoys the support of both White House chief strategist Steve Bannon and adviser Sebastian Gorka, the report said.
Miller, 31, made headlines after a rancorous exchange last Wednesday at a White House news conference in which he announced Trump’s push for immigration reform.
During the press conference, he told reporters the poem written by Emma Lazarus about the “huddled masses,” which is on a plaque on the Statue of Liberty and which has become a national symbol for the country’s embrace of immigrants, is not part of the original statue.
Miller, who is descended from Jewish immigrants, said the statue is a “symbol of American liberty lighting the world” and suggested it had little to do with immigration.
He was responding to a question from CNN reporter Jim Acosta asking if the Trump administration’s new merit-based green card proposal was in keeping with US tradition.
The reporter read a line of the Lazarus sonnet, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses.”
“The poem you were referring to was added later,” Miller said. “It’s not actually part of the originally Statue of Liberty.”
Miller’s comment prompted ridicule on social media and angry responses from immigrant rights advocates, although according to reports, it was well received in the White House and didn’t go unnoticed by Trump himself.
Scaramucci, the axed communications director, was forced out last Monday by incoming chief of staff John Kelly after barely 10 days in his post.
He had courted controversy with an expletive-laden attack on his colleagues — then-chief of staff Reince Priebus, who was forced out a few days earlier, and Bannon, the White House chief strategist.
Agencies contributed to this report.