Congresswoman apologizes for citing Hitler in speech to group
U.S. Rep. Mary Miller apologized today for quoting Adolf Hitler at a rally outside the U.S. Capitol this week.
In a statement, the newly sworn-in downstate Republican originally from Naperville, said she regretted the reference she used to show the dangers of outside influences on 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," she said today. "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."
U.S. Reps. Jan Schakowsky and Marie Newman, both Illinois Democrats, along with a contingent of state legislators circulating a petition, demanded on Thursday that Miller step down immediately.
Miller spoke Tuesday at a "Save the Republic Rally" hosted by the conservative group, "Moms for America." The rally took place a day before violent supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol.
The rally hosts defended Miller, saying Thursday the comments were taken out of context, Miller was owed an apology and, "Truth is truth regardless of the source."
"Moms for America" President Kimberly Fletcher also referenced the Nazi leader in its defense of Miller.
"Hitler also said, 'Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it,' If we mandate people not talk about the insidious actions of Hitler, we dismiss the horrific events he incited and open the door for them to be repeated," Fletcher wrote. "The media should focus on the truth instead of relentlessly repeating big lies."
Miller, 61, was sworn in Sunday after handily winning the November election to fill the seat left vacant by Republican John Shimkus' retirement. It's her first time in public office. Miller, of Oakland, runs a farm with her husband, Republican state Rep. Chris Miller. Her congressional district covers a wide swath of southeastern Illinois along the Indiana border.
Her comments drew swift criticism, including from the World Jewish Congress, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Republican U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois and Jewish state legislators.
"A sitting member of Congress who uses Hitler's obscene methods for indoctrinating children with racism and fascism as a guidepost, igniting hate and violence, has no place in Congress," said a statement from the Illinois Legislative Jewish Caucus. "If Rep. Miller has any respect left for the role of a U.S. Congressperson or any shred of dignity in her, she will do what's right and resign."
The group of more than a dozen lawmakers was circulating a petition demanding immediate resignation. It had more than 1,600 signatures by Thursday.
Other Illinois Democrats in Congress issued a joint statement condemning the remark as "a black mark on this body and a black mark on our state."
Miller was among those who voted to overturn election results for President-elect Joe Biden.