Stephen Miller, senior policy advisor to Donald Trump, joined host Stephen K. Bannon on Thursday’s edition of Breitbart News Daily to talk about the home stretch of the delegate race between his candidate and Senator Ted Cruz.
Miller was incensed about the outcome of the Colorado primary, all of whose delegates were won by Cruz. He repeatedly declared the primary illegitimate, insisted the voters of Colorado had been disenfranchised, and referred to Cruz as the “disenfranchisement candidate.”
When Bannon suggested Cruz was “running the tables” on Trump in delegates by running a “tougher, better, more focused operation,” Miller responded: “The only person who’s getting the tables run on them is Ted Cruz, in the sense that Ted Cruz is now mathematically eliminated from 1,237. So let’s just be clear about that.” 1,237 is the number of delegate votes needed to secure the nomination on the first round of balloting at the Republican National Convention.
Confronted with the criticism that the Trump campaign is “whining” about Cruz’s success at picking up delegates, Miller replied, “That’s like saying we’re whining when we talk about the fact that we beg and plead for Washington to secure the borders, but they won’t. That we’re whining because we beg and plead for them to pass an omnibus bill that blocks refugees, but they don’t. That’s like saying that we’re whining because we beg and plead for them not to raise the debt limit without preconditions, but they just go ahead and raise it unilaterally with no reforms whatsoever.”
“Time, and time, and time again, the Washington power brokers, political class, establishment — whatever you want to call them — find a way to work the rules of the system to benefit themselves at the exclusion of everybody else,” Miller continued. “So it’s kind of ironic to hear Ted Cruz say, ‘Well, I found a loophole in the rules to insert a double agent delegate to nullify 750,000 voters in a congressional district, or residents in a congressional district, but it’s OK because I found a loophole.’”
“If you listen to Ted Cruz’s criticism of the Establishment historically, he’s never accused them of breaking the rules. He’s always accused them of abusing the rules,” Miller noted. “That’s the whole point. It’s not illegal for a pundit to have an unhealthy relationship with a lobbyist. It’s not illegal for a staffer to have an unhealthy relationship with a consultant. It’s not illegal to have a revolving door, where you go from a think tank, to consultancy, to campaign aide, to TV — back, and back, and back again, making money the whole way through, no matter who wins and who loses.”
Miller therefore found it “beyond ironic” that Cruz’s campaign would prosper from what Miller characterized as abusive but not “illegal” practices, hammering the point that Trump has won far more votes, delegates, and state victories.
He sought to excuse the Trump campaign’s poor performance in Colorado by suggesting they had been busy with “historic” achievements and “exceeding expectations” at every turn in the campaign thus far, leaving them little time to master the strange rules imposed on the Colorado race last summer.
Miller also heavily stressed the idea that Colorado’s rules are morally wrong, summarily dismissing the argument that Trump’s team was at fault for failing to master them. “There is a logical breakdown here, with the media class and the political class, where I say, ‘It was wrong to cancel the election in Colorado,’ and they reply with, ‘Those are the rules.’ That is a non-sequitur. I am making a moral declaration about our political system, so the person should respond and engage with that on a moral level. Should people be able to cancel the election if they don’t like the result? Should we have a system that has a safety valve, where if the people don’t like the direction of the country, you can cancel their vote, you can put in a double agent delegate?”
“Is it morally correct for the people that say — across, let’s say, the southern part of the United States, who voted overwhelmingly for Trump, in district, after district, after district, after district — is it appropriate for the club, the political club — let’s say the Lindsey Graham club, that has betrayed the electorate’s will in these states for many, many years now — is it appropriate for them to appoint delegates that will vote the exact opposite way of the people living in those districts?” he continued. “I submit to you that it is not appropriate.”
Miller said that “of course” the Trump campaign would work within the system, while also campaigning to change it, and call for “maximum voter participation.” He was firm that one major change should be implemented immediately: the Republican Party should abandon the 1,237 delegate requirement and award the nomination, without further balloting, to the candidate who arrives at the convention with the most delegates. In 2016, that will unquestionably be Donald Trump.
“The number that you go into the convention with, to obviously automatically lock up the nomination, is a known number,” he conceded. “But, at the same time, as Mr. Trump has said and as others have said, if you come in with a large delegate lead, you should still be the nominee. The popular will should still be expressed.”
“Ted Cruz has no democratic path to the nomination,” Miller insisted. “He’s been eliminated, okay? Remember, Ted Cruz was supposed to carry the South. Ted Cruz’s publicly stated strategy at the beginning was a democratic strategy.”
Instead, Miller argued, “Cruz has only won three primaries outside of his home state, two outside of his home region — Idaho and Wisconsin. That is it, in the whole country. Ted Cruz loses when people vote.”
“What I’m saying is that Ted Cruz is going to enter the convention trailing by millions of votes, by hundreds of delegates, by more than a dozen primaries,” Miller concluded. “He’s going to be trailing by every single available metric of performance. And it is unseemly that he is relying upon the political insider class, that he claims not to like, to try and insert double agent delegates to nullify the will of voters — voters who have been disenfranchised their whole lives. Voters in Pennsylvania whose factories have shut down. Voters in California who lost their jobs to illegal immigration. Voters in the South who have been represented by politicians like Lindsey Graham who haven’t had their best interests at heart for years. He wants to re-disenfranchise them all over again. That is wrong.”
“But it’s in the context of a losing campaign who cannot win democratically. He can’t enter the convention with the most votes, or the most delegates, or anything even close to it,” Miller said of Cruz. “That’s why he’s relying on that strategy. And I would say to all the Cruz supporters out there – the many people, the good and decent people who are supporting Ted Cruz’s campaign – if the insiders in D.C. were throwing delegates, double agent delegates, in districts that, say, Jeb Bush lost, to Jeb Bush if he was still in the race, or that Lindsey Graham lost, if he was still in the race, to Lindsey Graham — would they be okay with that? Or would they not be outraged by the corruption of the political class?”
“We’re going to work within the system, but we’re going to be honest about how broken the system is, because it’s the same system the political class has used to avoid being responsive to the popular will for generations now,” Miller vowed.
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You can listen to the full interview with Stephen Miller below: