KEY POINTS

  • Jason Miller tried to explain why President Trump did not condemn the Proud Boys outright
  • The Proud Boys have started using Trump's remarks as a recruiting tool
  • Miller's former boss says he doesn't understand why the media consultant is on television

In an interview Wednesday on MSNBC, Jason Miller, a senior adviser to President Trump's campaign, attempted to explain Trump's response in Tuesday's debate in which he did not condemn white supremacists and the far-right, pro-violence group the Proud Boys. As a result of the television appearance, renewed scrutiny was also directed at Miller for past questionable actions and comments.

When asked to condemn racial violence, Trump had insisted that he hadn’t seen anything about right-wing hate groups fomenting violence and that what he’s seen has been initiated by Black Lives Matter and antifa, which FBI Director Christopher Wray has said is not really a group but more of an idea.

Trump said the Proud Boys should “stand back” and “stand by.”

When asked by "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd about the comments, Miller said Trump had condemned white supremacy by saying, “sure" three times. Todd accused Miller of gaslighting and "making stuff up."

Asked by Todd what “stand by” meant, Miller responded: “Stand by the wayside, stand by the wayside. Get out of the way. Let law enforcement do their job.” Trump has not used that language and also stated Wednesday that he didn't even know about the Proud Boys despite referencing them.

Trump over the years repeatedly has failed to condemn hate groups, declining in 2016 to reject support from former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke and saying there were some “very fine people on both sides” of a deadly white supremacist march in 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The Proud Boys, who describe themselves as “a pro-Western fraternal organization for men,” touted Trump’s remarks on social media platforms from which they have not been banned. One member said he already had seen a spike in new recruits.

Meanwhile, Miller's comments have brought the spotlight back on himself. His name was trending on Twitter on Wednesday after the MSNBC interview.

Republican political strategist Stuart Stevens tweeted on Wednesday that Miller was his former intern. He noted how Miller had been accused of drugging a stripper with an abortion pill, regularly hiring prostitutes and "refusing to pay reasonable child support despite making hundreds of thousands of dollars."

“No normal company would hire him,” Stevens said. “What is he doing on TV?”

A Seattle native, Miller worked on Trump’s 2016 campaign. He was briefly considered as White House communications director but declined because he wanted to spend more time with his family.

The decision followed allegations of an extramarital affair with Trump campaign staffer A.J. Delgado and fathering her son, William.

Miller, who is in his mid-40s, had confirmed the prostitution allegations in a libel suit against Gizmodo. In May 2019, Miller said in a deposition that he hired prostitutes and visited "Asian-themed" massage parlors for sexual services. 

A report from online publication Splinter in September 2018 cited a court filing that Miller in 2012 allegedly drugged a woman he met at an Orlando strip club. The filing said the woman, who had been impregnated by Miller, had spent two days in a hospital and nearly died after Miller put an abortion drug in her drink.

Miller briefly worked as a commentator for CNN before stepping down after the drugging report.