Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

In August, we became acquainted with Donald Trump’s latest acolyte, a then 31-year-old ghoul named Stephen Miller. As a senior advisor for policy and speechwriter, the sallow-eyed Buster Bluth has not only seen his influence on immigration reform surface in Trump’s rhetoric, but he’s also outlasted many of his colleagues in the killing fields of Trump’s White House. But Trump loves a firebrand, and let us not forget that Miller once said at a press conference that the famous “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses” poem on the Statue Of Liberty “should not inform American immigration policy because it was not added to Liberty Island until 17 years after the statue’s unveiling.”

A new piece in The New York Times explores the man behind those moments, and finds plenty of reasons why Miller’s performative, trollish, and aggressively racist antics in high school and college had the GOP salivating after him. Here’s just a smattering of them, as recounted by Miller’s old classmates and colleagues:

  1. In a campaign speech in high school, he questioned the effectiveness of the school’s janitors by asking, “Am I the only one who is sick and tired of being told to pick up my trash when we have plenty of janitors who are paid to do it for us?”
  2. “He jumped, uninvited, into the final stretch of a girls’ track meet, apparently intent on proving his athletic supremacy over the opposite sex.”
  3. “He railed against bilingual announcements, asking in a local editorial why there were ‘usually very few, if any, Hispanic students in my honors classes, despite the large number of Hispanic students that attend our school.’”
  4. “Latino students remembered him engaging them outside group meetings, asking why they required a separate forum to discuss issues of identity, and chafing at Spanish being spoken in the halls.”
  5. Jason Islas, a friend, was informed by Miller that their friendship needed to end because of Islas’ social awkwardness, “acne-specked face,” and his “Latino heritage.”

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Of course, the far-right would tell you Miller’s just doing it all for the lulz—just look at his knowing smirks!—but the Times is quick to point out the blurriness of these lines. “It’s a character?” former classmate Moises Castillo told them. “When you hear it more than once, when you hear it in private, when you hear it in public, that ‘character’ kind of fades away. That benefit of the doubt is gone.”

Anyways, this is the guy shaping our immigration policy right now. Read more about his formative years over at The New York Times.