- Associated Press - Thursday, August 3, 2017

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.

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