ST. LOUIS – Illinois Congresswoman Mary Miller, a Republican who represents part of the St. Louis area, is facing calls for an apology, even her resignation, just days after being sworn into her first term.
Miller invoked Adolph Hitler while speaking to supporters of President Trump at a rally in Washington, D.C. The remarks were made in the hours leading up to Wednesday’s violence inside the U.S. Capitol.
“Hitler was right on one thing. He said, ‘whoever has the youth has the future’,” Miller told the crowd.
She was at an event hosted by the group, “Moms for America”, talking about the need for conservatives to win the “hearts and minds” of children. Critics charge her words saying they helped fuel the storming of the Capitol that followed.
On Friday Miller issued an apology through a statement:
“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.”Congresswoman Mary Miller (R-IL)
Republicans and Democrats have joined the Anti-Defamation League in calling on Miller to apologize at the very least saying that invoking Hitler in any context is offensive and disrespectful, especially to the millions of Jews who died in the Holocaust.
Miller is from Oakland, Illinois which is about 160 miles from St. Louis near the Illinois-Indiana border.Her district stretches into the Edwardsville and Highland areas in Madison county. She had never held political office until now.
Republican Congressman, Rodney Davis, who also represents parts of the Illinois side released a statement saying he had spoken with Miller and that he expected her to issue a retraction and apology, soon.
“(Her) comments are unacceptable,” the statement said. “As a newly elected member of Congress (she) must understand that words matter and have consequences.”
Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider called Miller’s words “disgusting.” He urged her to apologize.
“She’s got to own this. That’s all there is to it,” Dr. Ken Moffett, Political Science Chair at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, said. “There have been people who have been either forced to resign or have effectively decided that resignation is the best option in light of remarks like this.”
“I don’t know how you even begin to use that phrase,” Madison County Democratic Party Chairman Randy Harris said. “It’s abhorrent. There is no way to excuse it. There’s no way around it. She needs to resign immediately. Shame on her and anybody that believes those sorts of things.”
Miller, an ardent Trump supporter, voted against accepting the presidential electoral vote counts from Arizona and Pennsylvania.
She did not respond to requests for comments from Fox 2 and News 11.
Senator Tammy Duckworth issued a statement Thursday evening calling on Miller to resign.
“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,” Duckworth said. “To say that the perpetrator of the greatest genocide in world history should be a model for any type of behavior, much less the indoctrination of children with hatred, racism and fascist ideals, is disqualifying for an American elected official. I cannot condemn in harsher terms Mary Miller’s despicable comments in the run-up to yesterday’s coup attempt, and I call on her to resign immediately so that someone who better understands the sacrifices our brave service members made during World War II can more effectively represent our state.”