The last time Stephen Miller got this heated during a television interview, CNN’s Jake Tapper had to cut him off for “wasting” viewers’ time and the White House adviser reportedly had to be escorted out of the building by security.
This time, he was on Fox News, struggling to defend President Donald Trump’s announcement this week that he would be declaring a national emergency to obtain the funding his border wall with Mexico in a highly contentious sit-down with Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace.
Repeatedly, Wallace tried to get Miller to explain how the supposed “crisis” at the border justifies an emergency order, presenting him with statistics that show how illegal border crossings have dropped dramatically over the past two decades and that 80-90 percent of drugs are seized at ports of entry.
After playing the clip of Trump admitting to reporters that he “didn’t need to do this,” Wallace asked his guest, “How does that justify a national emergency?”
“What the president was saying was, like past presidents, he could choose to ignore this crisis, choose to ignore this emergency as others have, but that’s not what he’s going to do,” Miller said, before throwing President George W. Bush specifically under the bus. Citing his own statistic that illegal immigration doubled under the 43rd president, he said, “That represented an astonishing betrayal of the American people.”
When Miller said he could get as granular about the details on this issue as the host wants, Wallace quipped, “Please don’t.”
But the one question Miller could not answer came a little later in their interview. “National emergencies have been declared 59 times since 1976 when the law was passed,” Wallace said, referring to the National Emergencies Act. “Can you point to a single instance when the president asked Congress for money, Congress refused to give him that money and the president then invoked national emergency powers to get the money.”
As Miller dodged and obfuscated, Wallace kept on him. “Can you find one case?” he asked again.
“Chris, can you find one foreign threat in the world today, outside this country’s borders, that currently kills more Americans than the threats crossing our Southern border?” Miller asked him in return, apparently referring to either immigrants or drugs, though he intentionally left that distinction unclear.
“You know, the joy of this is I get to ask you questions,” Wallace responded. “And you don’t get to ask me.” When Miller answered his own question in the negative, Wallace added, “Then answer my question! Just yes or no, sir!”
Miller refused to answer, growing more and more agitated as he railed against the way U.S. money is spent on “some foreign adventure” overseas as opposed to securing the border at home. “If the president can’t defend this country, then he cannot fulfill his constitutional oath of office!” he screamed at Wallace.
“Stephen, thanks for coming in,” Wallace concluded. “It’s always good and always challenging to talk to you.”