Illinois Congresswoman Mary Miller says she apologizes for any harm caused by her speech at a Washington DC rally, where she voiced agreement with a quotation of Adolf Hitler. But she said some of her critics were intentionally distorting what she had said.
“I sincerely apologize for any harm my words caused,” the east central Illinois Republican said in her statement, “and regret using a reference to one of the most evil dictators in history to illustrate the dangers that outside influences can have on our youth.”
Miller came under harsh criticism for saying: “Hitler was right on one thing. He said, ‘Whoever has the youth, has the future.’”
The first-term lawmaker made the remark at a “Save The Republic” rally outside the U.S. Capitol Building, held Tuesday by the group Moms For America.
Miller said the point of her remarks was that “parents should be proactive to install what is good, true, right and noble into their children’s hearts and minds,” in order to combat dangerous outside influences.
Miller said some critics were “trying to intentionally twist my words to mean something antithetical to my beliefs”. Despite what those critics say, she said she is a strong supporter of Israel and an ally of the Jewish community.
Miller said she has been in talks with Jewish leaders, “and am grateful to them for their kindness and forthrightness.”
Miller’s statement came after two days of silence on the issue, while a clip from her speech at the Tuesday rally drew condemnation from politicians, Jewish organizations, and Holocaust museums.
Illinois Governor JB Pritzker, who is Jewish, was one of the most prominent Illinois Democrats to criticize Miller’s remarks. Republican criticism came from outgoing state GOP Chairman Tim Schneider, state Senate Republican Leader-Designate Dan McConchie and US Rep. Adam Kinzinger.
Some called on Miller to apologize, while other said she should resign her U.S. House seat. Among those calling for her resignation were members of the Illinois congressional delegation, including Senator Tammy Duckworth and Representative Jan Schakowski.
A petition calling for Miller’s resignation, organized by the Illinois Legislative Jewish Caucus on change.org had received more than 9,000 signatures as of Friday morning.
Miller was sworn in last Sunday, as the new representative in Illinois’ 15th U.S. House District, covering much of southern and southeast Illinois. She succeeded longtime Republican lawmaker John Shimkus in the seat. Miller is married to State Representative Chris Miller. Together, they manage a farm in Coles County, outside of Oakland.
Miller was among a group of House Republicans who voted against the certification of electoral ballots that elected Democrats Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as president and vice-president. Miller called the electoral college results “tainted,” and accused Democrats of refusing to investigate charges of election fraud.
Miller responded to the storming of the Capitol Building Wednesday by pro-Trump extremists with a statement on her campaign Facebook page that did not mention the president: “We are indeed a divided nation. These divisions do not excuse the violent behavior exhibited in our nation’s Capital today. Like you, I am deeply saddened by the actions we have been witness to.”
“Earlier this week, I spoke to a group of mothers about the importance of faith and guarding our youth from destructive influences.
“I sincerely apologize for any harm my words caused and regret using a reference to one of the most evil dictators in history to illustrate the dangers that outside influences can have on our youth.
“This dark history should never be repeated and parents should be proactive to instill what is good, true, right, and noble into their children’s hearts and minds.
“While some are trying to intentionally twist my words to mean something antithetical to my beliefs, let me be clear: I’m passionately pro-Israel and I will always be a strong advocate and ally of the Jewish community.
“I’ve been in discussion with Jewish leaders across the country and am grateful to them for their kindness and forthrightness.”