I worked with Miers at the White House. Though my interaction with her was limited, since I was merely a Presidential Writer and she was the Staff Secretary, I had a unique experience with her. In 2001, I was given the task of writing the President’s Christmas message to the nation.…
The director of correspondence and the deputy of correspondence edited and approved the message and it was sent to the Staff Secretary’s office for the final vetting. Miers emailed me and told me that the message might offend people of other faiths, i.e., that the message was too Christian. She wanted me to change it. I refused to change the message (In my poor benighted reasoning, I actually think that Christmas is an overtly Christian holiday that celebrates the birth of Christ and the beginning of the redemption of man.).
The director and deputy of correspondence supported me. I even emailed Ken Mehlman (then the Political Director at the White House, now the Republican National Committee Chairman), to see what he thought about the message. He was not offended by it in the least. Miers insisted that I change the tone of the message. I again refused, and after several weeks, the assignment was taken out of my hands. I was later encouraged to apologize to Miers. I did not apologize.
…Miers purposefully sought to dilute the Christianity of the message, thus revealing to me at least a willingness to compromise unnecessarily without outside pressure. That is my opinion based off that experience and I would be more than happy to be proved wrong.
It makes you wonder how he managed to carry on after such vicious editing of the Christmas card he wrote. Such strength, to overcome that sort of adversity. It really puts my hardships into perspective.
The Christmas message is sent to people of all faiths at the end of the year. It’s one of the few communications between the President and his supporters and correspondents that isn’t explicitly partisan. If Ryun was too dumb to figure that out, it’s good that Miers caught it.