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Miller comments on Lazarus poem echo far right opinions

White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller speaks during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017. (AP Photo...
FILE - This undated image shows American poet Emma Lazarus. A poem by Emma Lazarus added to the base of the Statue of Liberty that welcomes immigrants...
FILE - In this Nov. 5, 2015, file photo, visitors view the Statue of Liberty during a ferry ride to Liberty Island in New York. Senior White House aid...
FILE - In this May 7, 2015, file photo, people look at the Statue of Liberty from a ferry boat in Jersey City, N.J. Senior White House aide Stephen Mi...
FILE - In this undated photo of a group of immigrants, who arrived at Ellis Island in New York, wait in line to begin immigration proceedings. Senior ...
FILE- In this circa 1950 photo shows a bronze plaque of the poem by Poet Emma Lazurus on Statue of Liberty in New York. In 1903, the poem was engraved...
FILE - In this Oct. 28, 1956 file photo, Mr. and Mrs. Paul Roerich from Bavaria, Germany, look out from the stern of the USNS General Langfitt anchore...
FILE - In this Jan. 11, 2014, file photo, the Statue of Liberty is surrounded by fog on Liberty Island in New York. Senior White House aide Stephen Mi...
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, right, introduces White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller to speak during the daily brief...
White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller calls on a reporter during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Aug. 2, 20...
White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller speaks during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017. (AP Photo...

White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller speaks during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017. (AP Photo...

FILE - This undated image shows American poet Emma Lazarus. A poem by Emma Lazarus added to the base of the Statue of Liberty that welcomes immigrants...

FILE - In this Nov. 5, 2015, file photo, visitors view the Statue of Liberty during a ferry ride to Liberty Island in New York. Senior White House aid...

FILE - In this May 7, 2015, file photo, people look at the Statue of Liberty from a ferry boat in Jersey City, N.J. Senior White House aide Stephen Mi...

FILE - In this undated photo of a group of immigrants, who arrived at Ellis Island in New York, wait in line to begin immigration proceedings. Senior ...

FILE- In this circa 1950 photo shows a bronze plaque of the poem by Poet Emma Lazurus on Statue of Liberty in New York. In 1903, the poem was engraved...

FILE - In this Oct. 28, 1956 file photo, Mr. and Mrs. Paul Roerich from Bavaria, Germany, look out from the stern of the USNS General Langfitt anchore...

FILE - In this Jan. 11, 2014, file photo, the Statue of Liberty is surrounded by fog on Liberty Island in New York. Senior White House aide Stephen Mi...

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, right, introduces White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller to speak during the daily brief...

White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller calls on a reporter during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Aug. 2, 20...

White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller speaks during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017. (AP Photo...

NEW YORK (AP) — When senior White House aide Stephen Miller disputed the significance of Emma Lazarus' poem on the Statue of Liberty, he wasn't expressing a new opinion.

The poem has been harshly criticized by such far-right leaders as the white supremacists David Duke and Richard Spencer.

Miller's comments on Wednesday about the poem, "The Great Colossus," came in defense of President Donald Trump's proposal to dramatically reduce legal immigration and shift the nation toward a system that prioritizes merit and skills over family ties. Miller noted, correctly, that the poem was not originally on the Statue of Liberty. But Lazarus' words have since been widely absorbed in American culture and helped make the statue synonymous with welcoming people from abroad.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


Updated : 2021-05-07 08:47 GMT+08:00