Congresswoman apologizes for making an Approving Reference to Hitler.
Representative Mary Miller, an Illinois Republican, had faced condemnation and calls to resign for declaring at a rally: "Hitler was right on one thing: He said, 'Whoever has the youth, has the future.'"
A freshman member of the House of Representatives said on Friday that she regretted having made an approving reference to Hitler at a rally in Washington — a comment that drew condemnation from members of both parties and prompted some Democrats to demand that she resign.
The congresswoman, Mary Miller, an Illinois Republican, made the remarks at a "Save the Republic" rally on Tuesday, two days after she was sworn in as a House member, representing the state's 15th Congressional District. The rally was sponsored by the conservative group Moms for America.
"Each generation has the responsibility to teach and train the next generation," Ms. Miller said at the rally. "You know, if we win a few elections, we're still going to be losing, unless we win the hearts and minds of our children. This is the battle. Hitler was right on one thing: He said, 'Whoever has the youth, has the future.' Our children are being propagandized."
As Ms. Miller's remarks began circulating on social media and drawing criticism, her office initially defended them.
"Congresswoman Miller's statement was a denunciation of evil dictators' efforts to re-educate young people and similar efforts by left-wing radicals in our country today," a statement posted on her Twitteraccount said on Wednesday.
But on Friday, as she faced growing condemnation, she backtracked and expressed regret, saying she had been speaking 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," Ms. Miller said in a statement. "While some are trying to intentionally twist my words into 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."
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum was among the groups that had roundly criticized Ms. Miller's remarks. The museum said it "unequivocally condemns any leader trying to advance a position by claiming Adolf Hitler was 'right.'"
"Adolf Hitler, the Nazis, and their collaborators murdered almost every member of my family, destroyed my entire community, and ended a centuries-old culture," Irene Weiss, an Auschwitz survivor, said in a statement released by the museum. "I implore our leaders and all Americans not to misuse this history — my history."
Gov. J.B. Pritzker of Illinois, a Democrat, called Ms. Miller's remarks "unfathomable and disgusting," and urged her to visit the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center "to learn just how wrong Hitler was."
Representative Adam Kinzinger, Republican of Illinois, called Ms. Miller's comments "garbage," and Tim Schneider, the chairman of the Illinois Republican Party, urged Ms. Miller to apologize, saying, "That language is wrong and disgusting."
Ms. Schakowsky said on Friday that Ms. Miller's comments "make her unfit for a leader" and called her apology "equivocal."
"She obviously got some heat, but she has not reached out to have a conversation with Jewish members of the delegation, or any member of the delegation," Ms. Schakowsky, who is Jewish, said in an interview. "I don't think that the apology is sufficient, but I would like to talk to her and see how she really justified what she said anyway."
Ms. Duckworth said Ms. Miller should "resign immediately."
"It is absolutely repugnant, obscene and unacceptable for any American — let alone a supposed 'leader' serving in Congress — to claim Adolf Hitler was right about anything," Ms. Duckworth said.
Ms. Miller, 61, who describes herself as a mother of seven, grandmother of 17, farmer and business manager, was elected in November to replace Representative John Shimkus, a Republican, who retired.
The group she had addressed, Moms for America, says its mission is to "build a foundation of liberty in the homes of America, through the mothers of America." Before her apology, the group defended Ms. Miller's remarks about Hitler, saying, "Truth is truth regardless of the source."
"While Congresswoman Miller's statement is being taken out of context and used as a weapon against her, we know the real issue has nothing to do with Hitler, but the fact that she is a woman of courage who speaks truth in a time of universal deceit," the group said on Facebook.
Michael Levenson, New York Times, January 8, 2021
January 9, 2021
Voices4America Post Script. A woman who praises Hitler is a new Republican member of Congress. Take that in. Share it. #RemoveMaryMillerNow