Stephen Miller reportedly gave a middle school friend a list of reasons why they couldn't be pals in high school, including that he was Latino

Stephen Miller.
(Image credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

President Trump's senior adviser, Stephen Miller, was "radicalized" long before ever jumping on Trump and Stephen Bannon's wagon, Miller's former high school and college classmates told Vanity Fair. "He has a dangerous mind and a dangerous way of thinking. He wants to shift what America is about," said Miller's former high school classmate, Nick Silverman.

But Miller's radical worldview — marked by being the lone defender of accused rapists on the Duke campus, or by calling America a "white county" that is "our creation … our inheritance, and it belongs to us" — started even before high school, one friend recalled:

As a youngster, Stephen was obsessed with Star Trek. He watched the show for hours. And he and his younger brother, Jacob, used to dress up in Captain Kirk uniforms. "He really liked this kind of macho alpha-male thing that was going on with Kirk," remembers Jason Islas, a friend of Miller's in middle school. "I think he was really attracted to that as a model for his own behavior."[…] When Miller celebrated his Bar Mitzvah at Beth Shir Shalom, Islas was a close enough friend to be invited. But Miller abruptly ended their friendship that summer, before they both went off to Santa Monica's huge, 3,400-student public high school. According to Islas, one day Miller telephoned him and told him he didn't want to be friends anymore. Not content to just let their interactions fade as they moved from one school to another, Miller wanted to make a point. "He gave me a whole list of reasons why we couldn't be friends and almost all of them were personal, but the one that stuck out was because of my Latino heritage," Islas recalls. "It was the one that wasn't directly personal. It was very strange." [Vanity Fair]

Silverman added that Miller hasn't changed much since he was a teenager.

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"I can hear that kind of nationalistic, America-First American culture," he told Vanity Fair. "That's that same Stephen from junior year. He hasn't gone anywhere. That's still him." Read more about Miller's worldview and roots at Vanity Fair.

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Jeva Lange

Jeva Lange was the executive editor at She formerly served as The Week's deputy editor and culture critic. She is also a contributor to Screen Slate, and her writing has appeared in The New York Daily News, The Awl, Vice, and Gothamist, among other publications. Jeva lives in New York City. Follow her on Twitter.