Did Stephen Miller destroy Wolf Blitzer in an interview about border wall funding and the departure of Secretary of Defense James Mattis? Or did Miller lose his cool and have to be told to stop yelling and calm down by Blitzer?
Depends on what you read about the interview.
What’s clear is Blitzer went after Miller on numerous points, and Miller stood up steadfastly for the president.
When Blitzer asked why President Trump couldn’t achieve his goals on border security in the first two years of his term when his own party controlled both houses of Congress, Miller pointed out the House was voting at that moment on a temporary funding measure that included more than $5 billion for construction of a wall at the Mexican border.
Miller said construction on the wall has begun – more than 100 miles of wall already are constructed or under construction, he said. “But the president’s made clear that he’s not interested in continuing to build the one mile, one stretch at a time,” Miller said. “He wants to build the wall by getting the money now, just like the president was very clear about for the last year leading up to this funding fight. But let’s cut through this. Right now as we speak – right now as we speak, there is a surge of illegal immigration heading towards our country that presents a crisis now.”
“Right now, though,” Blitzer interjected.
“Not a year from now,” Miller responded. “Right now. And this president took an oath like every lawmaker in Congress to defend the citizens of the country. How many more innocent people have to die in order …”
Blitzer shot back. “Stephen, hold on a minute, calm down a minute. We don’t have to yell. These are important policy issues that we’re discussing.”
The conversation then turned to the border wall. Blitzer asked if the administration is negotiating to prevent a government shutdown. “Are you talking to Democrats right now to come up with a compromise before midnight tomorrow night,” he asked.
“The Democrats, all they need to do is support border security and the government will be funded.” Blitzer responded: “The Democrats – Stephen, the Democrats support border security. They don’t support $5 billion for a wall.”
Miller said, “Like what? They voted against case law. They voted against ending sanctuary cities. They voted against supporting MS-13 gang members. They voted against supporting violent criminals. They voted time and time again against a physical border wall to stop illegal entry. I mean, where is the evidence that you keep asserting they’re for border security? They haven’t been. They oppose closing loopholes for asylum.”
“Stephen,” Blitzer responded. “I want to move on to another issue, Stephen.”
The Washington Post thought Blitzer got the best of the exchange. “Miller appeared to repeatedly dodge Blitzer’s pointed questions, choosing instead to shower Trump with praise and spout lengthy impassioned defenses of the president’s recent controversial decisions,” wrote Allyson Chiu in “’We don’t have to yell’: Wolf Blitzer tells Stephen Miller to ‘calm down’ during border wall interview.”
She followed up on that theme by getting into Blitzer’s attempts to get Miller to admit Mattis had quit, rather than retired.
“’James Mattis is retiring,’ Miller said, before parroting the explanation the defense secretary gave in his resignation letter for why he’s decided to step down,” Chiu wrote. “Talking over Blitzer, who tried to ask a follow-up question, Miller added that it is ‘very normal at this point in the administration to have turnover.’”
Still later, “When Blitzer again asked why the wall wasn’t finished, Miller started to shout.” And then after that, “Cutting off Blitzer, who tried to ask about securing the funding, Miller said emphatically …”
And finally, “He continued, appearing to become more irate.”
Photo by mdfriendofhillary