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Rep. Kim Schrier On Calling For Stephen Miller's Firing

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Twenty-five Democratic representatives have sent a letter to President Trump. As Jewish members of Congress, it reads, we are calling on you to immediately relieve White House senior adviser Stephen Miller of all government responsibilities and dismiss him. The letter from the Jewish representatives comes after troves of emails showed Miller citing ideas from white supremacist books, sources and websites.

Representative Kim Schrier is from Washington state's 8th Congressional District. She signed the letter, and she joins me now to talk about it. Thank you so much for being with us.

KIM SCHRIER: Thank you, Lulu.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: What did you think when you saw the emails disclosed by the Southern Poverty Law Center between Miller and a former editor at Breitbart?

SCHRIER: Oh, look. I was horrified by those emails and the content, but unfortunately, I was not surprised. I don't think any of us were surprised to hear that so much of the rhetoric that we've been hearing and seeing out of Stephen Miller as a primary adviser to the president was rooted in anti-Semitic, white nationalist rhetoric that's distributed on websites far and near.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: We should say - you use the words anti-Semitic, but, you know, Stephen Miller is Jewish, a point that the White House has made.

SCHRIER: You know, I think that is giving cover that is not deserved. His behavior can still be white nationalist and anti-Semitic. And to somehow excuse it is not all right. I mean, if it were coming from somebody who was Christian, you would not call me anti-Christian for saying it. It is hate speak, and it is wrong, no matter who it comes from. And I should note that there was an open letter from his own rabbi denouncing his behavior.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: There was also a letter from more than a hundred House Democrats that called for Miller's ouster. The White House, up until now, has said that anyone making these charges is motivated by anti-Semitism themselves because, again, Miller is Jewish. Is that why you spoke out?

SCHRIER: Well, this is why it was so important for Jewish members of Congress in particular to address this. I have to tell you that if there was ever a group that should be most sympathetic to the plight of immigrants, to the plight of the downtrodden and to minorities, it should be Jewish people. We have always been what we refer to as strangers in any land that we've been in - that we've never felt like we were completely accepted. And so if any group should have a sensitivity to the plight of immigrants and minorities, it should be Jewish people. And that's why we are so compelled to speak out. His behavior is contrary to everything in our ethos.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: We had Katie McHugh on last weekend on the show. She's the former Breitbart editor who provided the SPLC with the emails. And this is what she told us as to why she released her personal correspondence with Miller.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

KATIE MCHUGH: There's an entire network and structure of white nationalism that has infiltrated conservatism and furthermore is now in control of the White House.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Will removing Miller from his position help if what she's claiming is true?

SCHRIER: Every bit helps, and we can start with removing him because he is right there at our president's side. And I would hope that my colleagues on the other side of the aisle would speak up, as well. Again, it is our job as leaders in this country to speak out against injustice, and that comes in all forms. And it should not be just one party that calls this out and says it is wrong.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: And what has been the White House response to your letter so far?

SCHRIER: I have not heard a response.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That was Representative Kim Schrier, who signed a letter calling for White House senior adviser Stephen Miller to be fired. Thank you very much, and happy Hanukkah.

SCHRIER: Thank you, Lulu. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.