During Wednesday's White House press briefing announcing Trump's support of the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act, White House Senior Advisor Stephen Miller was criticized for his comments about immigration (and for sparring with CNN's Jim Acosta). Following the briefing and the fall-out, even Eric Bolling, a Fox News host, slammed Miller's delivery of the RAISE announcement.
Though Bolling admitted that he believes Miller is "brilliant," he insisted he just wasn't the right guy for the job. Per the Fox News broadcast, he said:
Conservatives are behind it, going ‘About time, awesome.’ And then they put Stephen Miller out there to deliver the message and look what we get. We get — listen, he’s a brilliant guy, he’s a great policy advisor. He is not a communications person. Don’t put that guy in front of the cameras again.
He went on to say that he thinks Miller's performance is representative of larger problems in the Trump administration's communications department. For example, Bolling knew that Miller's exchange with Acosta about the nature of American immigration and the poem on the Statue of Liberty was going to get more attention than "the message" of the bill:
And the message gets stepped on because everyone is going to play that interchange with Acosta instead of talking about how great this immigration policy is. They really have to fix their communications department.
In their sparring match, Acosta asked Miller whether the RAISE Act — which promotes policies that would favor legal immigrants who speak english and support themselves financially — was counter intuitive to the spirit of American immigration. He recited lines from the poem ("The New Colossus" by Emma Lazarus) engraved on The Statue of Liberty, wondering whether the policies were "trying to change what it means to be an immigrant coming into this country."
“The Statue of Liberty says ‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,'” Acosta said. “It doesn’t say anything about speaking English or being able to be a computer programmer.” He then asked if the policies would favor "people from Great Britain or Australia."
Miller replied with an overwhelming "well, actually" to the relevance of the poem and said that that he believed requiring people to speak english had a historical precedent— by nature of the laws for naturalization. He then launched in on Acosta for the Great Britain and Australia comment, claiming that it revealed a "cosmopolitan bias" on his part and called it "one of the most outrageous, insulting, ignorant, and foolish things [Acosta had] ever said."
And that's the message that Bolling believes out-shined what he thinks should have been a major immigration announcement for conservatives. While economics experts and immigration reform advocates aren't sold on any real benefits of the RAISE Act, there seems to be a consensus that Miller just wasn't the right guy to get up at a podium and talk about it.