White House adviser Stephen Miller sparred with CNN reporter Jim Acosta on Wednesday, heatedly debating the immigration proposal backed by President Trump just hours before.
Following Trump's touting of a plan from two Republican senators that would slash legal immigration, Miller took questions from the press corps. The final question of the afternoon came from Acosta, who brought up the poem on the Statue of Liberty.
"What you're proposing and what the president is proposing does not sound like it's in keeping with American tradition when it comes to immigration," Acosta said. "The Statue of Liberty says, 'Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.' It doesn't say anything about speaking English or being...a computer programmer."
Acosta then asked if the White House was trying to change what it means to be an immigrant.
That kicked off a debate between the two that lasted several minutes.
"The Statue of Liberty is a symbol of liberty enlightening the world," Miller replied. "It's a symbol of American liberty lighting the world. The poem that you're referring to was added later. It's not actually a part of the Statue of Liberty."
"You're saying it does not represent what the country has always thought of as immigration coming into this country?" Acosta retorted. He then charged that it was "national park revisionism."
The two continued to argue, with Miller demanding at one point, "Do you seriously at CNN not know the difference between green card policy and illegal immigration?"
At that point, Acosta pointed out that he is the son of a Cuban immigrant.
When Acosta continued to question whether immigrants would have to know English before coming to the United States, charging that people would have to come from Great Britain and Australia, Miller fired back.
"I am shocked at that statement," he said. "It reveals your cosmopolitan bias to a shocking degree... The notion that you think this is a racist bill is so wrong and so insulting."
Their exchange led to a lot of mixed buzz on Twitter:
WHAT?!! @POTUS advisor Stephen Miller says Emma Lazarus poem on Statue of Liberty "meaningless." Stephen, you are a Statue of Arrogance.— Anne Frank Center (@AnneFrankCenter) August 2, 2017
Stephen Miller calling Jim Acosta ignorant on live TV is officially the best thing I've seen this week. 👌 pic.twitter.com/aDwOsfr0Gx— Tennessee (@TEN_GOP) August 2, 2017