Senior White House adviser Stephen Miller may be President Donald Trump’s top guy on immigration, but his third-grade teacher thinks of him in other terms.
Nikki Fiske, who taught Miller 25 years ago when he attended Franklin Elementary in Santa Monica, California, said in The Hollywood Reporter that her former student was “a strange dude” with bizarre habits:
“Do you remember that character in Peanuts, the one called Pig Pen, with the dust cloud and crumbs flying all around him? That was Stephen Miller at 8. I was always trying to get him to clean up his desk — he always had stuff mashed up in there. He was a strange dude.
I remember he would take a bottle of glue — we didn’t have glue sticks in those days — and he would pour the glue on his arm, let it dry, peel it off and then eat it.”
Although Fiske said Miller never had any academic problems other than sloppy handwriting, she was worried about him socially because “he had such strange personal habits” and was “isolated and off by himself all the time.”
“Of course, Stephen wasn’t political then — it wasn’t until later that he started to make waves,” she said.
Fiske said she attempted to write down all her concerns into Miller’s school record, only to have the principal obscure her comments with Wite-Out after Miller’s parents complained.
Several people from Miller’s life have recently expressed far more substantial concerns about him than his former teacher, decrying his anti-immigrant and nativist policies in particular.
As one of the youngest and arguably most influential advisers to President Donald Trump, Miller is behind some of the administration’s most notorious and racist policies, including the travel ban on people from mostly Muslim-majority countries and the separation of undocumented families at the border.
Last month, Miller’s former rabbi, Rabbi Neil Comess-Daniels, condemned the “zero-tolerance” immigration policy Miller helped to craft, saying it was “completely antithetical to everything I know about Judaism, Jewish law and Jewish values.”
In August, Miller’s uncle, retired neuropsychologist David S. Glosser, said his nephew “has become the architect of immigration policies that repudiate the very foundation of our family’s life in this country.”
His uncle told HuffPost that Miller likely views certain ethnicities as “unworthy or inherently unsuited to life” in America.
Miller, who grew up in a family of Democrats and was part of a progressive Jewish temple, leaned into conservatism in college and eventually made his way to Congress as a staffer of then-Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and Rep. Michele Bachman (R-Minn.).
He is still close with former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, a proponent of far-right populism in Europe and the former executive chairman of Breitbart News.