Trump Advisor Stephen Miller Lost That High School Election To Party Photographer 'The Cobrasnake'
As Los Angeles struggles to make sense of how the People's Republic of Santa Monica produced dead-eyed Trump advisor Stephen Miller, attention has turned to a 2002 student council election where a young Miller was booed for a speech fellow students saw as racist. Now, in a convergence of worlds that rivals TV's greatest crossover episodes, it appears that the administration that bested Miller to rule Santa Monica High School (for the 2002 to 2003 school year, at least) included party photographer Mark "The Cobrasnake" Hunter, who landed the vice president role.
Yes, that Mark Hunter. For those who somehow don't remember, or didn't live in Los Angeles during the heady, American Apparel-clad days of the mid-aughts, Hunter was a hipster king. He and his camera were everywhere, capturing all the parties and club kids and documenting it on his much-imitated blog.
Here's the June 14, 2002 edition of The Samohi, the high school's student newspaper, which details the assembly where Miller spoke, and the election results. Miller lost his bid for the student government speaker of the house to an administration that included junior Mark Hunter, who won the vice presidency (these were separate races, but Hunter won and Miller did not):
At liberal Santa Monica High, Miller was "the student body’s best-known and least-liked conservative activist," according to an L.A. Times profile. In a 2002 letter to a Santa Monica news website, Miller complained about the school's use of Spanish language announcements, which he denounced as "a crutch ... preventing Spanish speakers from standing on their own. As politically correct as this may be, it demeans the immigrant population as incompetent, and makes a mockery of the American ideal of personal accomplishment,” according to the Times.
Both Hunter and Miller ran for Samohi's student council in their junior year, with Miller making a now infamous speech where, according to a video obtained by Univision, he asked if he was "the only one who is sick and tired of being told to pick up our trash when we have plenty of janitors who are paid to do it for us?” One former student described the speech to LAist as "a wild event" and "a very big deal" that was heavily discussed across the campus.
Miller was "seemingly unperturbed by the boos from the audience," according to Univision, who interviewed several former students for their piece:
Miller was cut off almost immediately. In the stands, some offended students got up from their seats and were set to take the stage to face Miller, according to Natalie Flores, who was in the audience... The Samohi student newspaper reported that, according to the organizers, the reason for silencing Miller was that he had exceeded his allotted 90 seconds. But other speakers had gone over their time without being cut off, according to students who also made speeches the same day. The newspaper reported that speeches had been pre-approved by Hedrick. But students who recalled that day told Univision they would have been surprised if Miller's outburst had received a green light and suspect he may have improvised.
"It was a racist remark because we all knew that our janitors were people of color," fellow student Natalie Flores told Univision. "He was a shameless racist," Charles Gould, another former Samohi student, wrote on Twitter:
Miller "was a contrarian. He got off on that experience—that's how he found his place and power, because it's true that it was a very outspoken, liberal student body," Hanna Mark, a Samohi alumni who graduated a year after Miller told LAist. "The more I read these articles, the more proud I am of Samo. There were some really engaged intelligent people, at a young age."
An earlier version of this post misstated the student government role that Trump advisor Stephen Miller was seeking: it was speaker of the house, not president.