News site publishes Trump aide’s personal phone number as retaliation for immigration controversy

News site publishes Trump aide’s personal phone number as retaliation for immigration controversy
Splinter, a news and politics media site, published the personal cellphone number of Trump adviser Stephen Miller. Miller's phone number was shared hundreds of times on Twitter, and retweeted by many more users. (Brendan Smialowski/AFT/Getty Images)

A political news website published the personal cellphone number of Trump senior adviser Stephen Miller as retaliation for his role in implementing the border policy that resulted in some immigrant children being separated from their parents when they attempted to illegally enter the U.S.

The number was published by Splinter, a website under the umbrella of Gizmodo Media Group, in an article titled, “Here’s Stephen MIller’s Cell Phone Number, If You Need It.”

“The Trump administration’s policy of separating immigrant children from their families has been credited primarily to the strenuous efforts of White House advisor Stephen Miller,” the article read. “Perhaps you would like to call him about it.”

What’s the story?

Last month, the Trump administration decided to begin criminally prosecuting nearly all illegal border crossers, tightening up a policy that had in the past been more discretionary and lenient to illegal immigrants.

The White House’s zero-tolerance policy was controversial because it would result in the prosecuted parents being separated from their children, who could not be held in federal detention with their parents while the cases are adjudicated.

Trump reportedly was hesitant to adopt the politically risky policy at first, but was convinced by advocates of it, including Miller. On Wednesday, Trump signed an executive order ending the practice of separating families.

Noting that Miller has not made many public appearances to discuss the policy he allegedly had a significant hand in getting implemented, the Splinter article published his phone number and encouraged readers to call or text him their thoughts.

“And while citizens plan protest marches and scream at Kirstjen Nielsen as she eats dinner, Miller himself has been rather unavailable for direct feedback from the public,” the article read.

The article’s author justified the move by referring to Trump’s publicizing of Sen. Lindsey Graham’s and Univision anchor Jorge Ramos’ numbers in 2016.

“So it is fair to assume he would support the public’s right to call (or text) Stephen Miller,” the author wrote.

Twitter tries to manage the situation

Miller’s phone number was shared hundreds of times on Twitter, and retweeted by many more users. Twitter locked numerous accounts that posted the number, as well as some that retweeted or shared the original Splinter article.

The social media site eventually stopped penalizing users for sharing the number, saying that the number was no longer valid, possibly because Miller had suspended it or changed his number.