Stephen Miller, a senior policy adviser to President Trump who is known for his hard-line views on immigration policy and his fiery exchanges with reporters, could expand his portfolio to include communications, two White House officials said Saturday.
The White House officials cautioned that conversations about Miller’s role are ongoing and no final decisions have been made. But they acknowledged that the 31-year-old aide is a candidate to take on the message-shaping responsibilities that usually fall to the communications director, a post that has been vacated since Anthony Scaramucci was fired last week after a tumultuous 11-day stint in the position.
Miller, who already serves as Trump’s chief speechwriter and policy adviser, is being pitched by his allies as someone who understands Trump and should have more control over how the president’s agenda is being promoted, the officials added, requesting anonymity to discuss personnel.
A White House spokeswoman declined to comment.
Miller previously worked on press and communications for Attorney General Jeff Sessions when he was in the Senate and for former GOP congresswoman Michele Bachmann (Minn.). Inside the White House, he has built a close bond with the president, White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon.
While Miller’s associates from the campaign praise him as a Bannon-style nationalist who channels Trump’s base, he does have critics. One of the officials said that there are reservations on the staff about giving Miller extensive say over communications because he has a tendency to be dismissive of reporters, a trait that reflects the president’s approach but could further tensions between the news media and the White House.
Miller last Wednesday had a tense back-and-forth exchange with CNN’s Jim Acosta during a news briefing on Trump’s latest immigration plan, accusing the reporter of “cosmopolitan bias.”
Still, the officials said Trump confidants have privately envisioned a revamped White House communications operation in which Miller would have a heavy hand in building media plans for policy proposals and in shaping the White House’s rapid response. Other advisers, such as counselor Kellyanne Conway and press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, would continue to be central figures in crafting the overall media strategy and would serve as advocates on television.
But with Trump in Bedminster, N.J., on vacation and new White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly settling into his job, the talks about Miller for the moment remain nascent and informal.
Axios first reported the possibility of Miller taking on a leadership role with regard to White House communications.
More broadly, the mention of Miller by White House officials reflects the desire within the West Wing to figure out how to improve communications and fill a job that has vexed the Trump circle ever since Republican operative Jason Miller, who was slated during the transition to be White House communications director, dropped out of consideration last year.
The post was soon taken up by now-departing press secretary Sean Spicer, and later by veteran consultant Michael Dubke, who resigned in June. It then went back to Spicer and then to Scaramucci.
John Wagner contributed to this report.