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White House senior adviser Stephen Miller at the White House in Washington, Feb. 28, 2020.

Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times News Service

Does the Trump administration’s face of evil have a point?

Stephen Miller, the white supremacist who steers United States President Donald Trump’s immigration policies, and also serves as his xenophobic speechwriter, claims it is hypocritical for Democrats and progressives to decry the President’s planned political rally in Tulsa, Okla., on Saturday as a coronavirus superspreader.

How can they do that, he asks, when they’re the same people who are encouraging and participating in massive protest rallies against racism and police brutality? Thousands of demonstrators milling together on streets, many of them without masks. It’s hypocrisy on stilts, Mr. Miller says.

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He cited Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser, who extended her lockdown order at the same time as she was promoting mass street protests. And how about Florida congresswoman Val Demings, who is on presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s shortlist for a running mate? She joined a major protest while blasting the President for his planned rally.

“There is almost assuredly going to be a spike in COVID cases and it will also almost assuredly be put on red-state governors and the President holding rallies,” Mr. Miller wrote in The Spectator this week. “But Democratic activists and politicians themselves created this situation.”

It’s too early to determine whether protests are contributing to a spike in COVID-19 cases. But progressives have to be careful about rhetoric and activities that play into the hands of the 34-year-old Mr. Miller and his Oval Office master. Campaigns to defund police departments, for example, are a godsend to Mr. Trump’s law-and-order campaign, as are protests that descend into violence.

Mr. Trump tweeted on Monday that the news media was “trying to Covid Shame us on our big Rallies.” Unconcerned about a new wave of the coronavirus plague, he will hold these rallies, no matter how dangerous they may be. Re-election, as he sees it, depends on the country getting out of its crouching, virus-defensive posture and back on its economic feet.

Despite U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence’s assertion that fears of a renewed virus outbreak are overblown, a dozen or so states, including Florida, Texas and Oklahoma – which is a heavily pro-Trump state – are still seeing a surge in cases.

While the anti-racism protests have been outdoors, where the virus is less contagious, the Trump team was planning on holding its rally in a packed indoor arena. But last-minute plans were being made to shift it to an outdoor venue. Mr. Pence said this was to accommodate huge crowds, but there was also pressure to do so for health reasons.

The Tulsa rally will be the President’s first in three months. The city was also the site of a massacre 99 years ago, when a white mob attacked Black residents of Tulsa’s Greenwood District, killing as many as 300 people. The Trump rally was originally planned to be held on Friday, June 19, which is known as Juneteenth, a holiday when many Black Americans celebrate their emancipation from slavery. But owing to the outrage the plan provoked, it was moved back a day.

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Even so, the event is likely to heighten racial tensions. It will play to Mr. Trump’s base, as all his other measures do. The police reforms he announced this week were toothless. He has rejected calls to rename military bases honouring Confederate generals.

Mr. Miller has had Mr. Trump’s ear since day one, and is still pouring poison into it. Mr. Miller is a blank-faced, cold and uncompromising bigot. In most everything written about him, the word evil or something synonymous can be found.

He is architect of the ban limiting travel to the U.S. from many Muslim countries, harsh anti-refugee policies and Trump speeches berating immigrants. Last November, leaked e-mails between himself and a former Breitbart editor showed him promoting white nationalist propaganda and materials from white supremacist sites. A group of 27 senators sent a letter to the White House saying Mr. Miller was motivated by white supremacy, not national security, and demanded he be fired.

Firing Mr. Miller is the furthest thing from Mr. Trump’s mind. His campaign priority is hardly to attract Black voters. With the help of Mr. Miller, he has pretty much lost them all.

As many have noted in the wake of George Floyd’s death, the Civil War of the 1860s in the United States has never really ended. Mr. Trump and Mr. Miller are shamefully keen to extend it into this campaign.

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