Newly sworn-in Congresswoman Mary Miller apologized Friday morning for statements she made earlier in the week citing Adolf Hitler, three days after she decided to quote the figure who led the murder of 6 million Jews and 11 million others.
Miller, a Republican farm owner from Oakland in east central Illinois, cited Hitler at a "Moms for America" rally in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday: "I believe in 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.'" Her quote was a paraphrase of his original statement at a 1935 Nazi rally: "He alone who owns the youth gains the future."
Miller, 61, said in a statement she was speaking to a group of mothers about "the importance of faith and guarding our youth from destructive influences." She said she regrets referencing Hitler.
"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," Miller said. "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."
Miller, who represents Illinois' 15th Congressional District, drew sharp criticism from Illinois lawmakers and Jewish groups for her Hitler reference. Her two fellow southern Illinois GOP House colleagues, U.S. Reps. Mike Bost of the 12th District and Rodney Davis of the 13th, said her comment was unacceptable and deeply hurtful.
"Under no circumstances should anybody even try to bring Hitler into a conversation, and definitely not use the words, 'he got one thing right,' because he never got one thing right," Bost said.
Democratic lawmakers in Illinois, including U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth and 9th District U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, demanded her resignation.
Miller did not specify who was twisting her words, and a spokeswoman did not immediately respond to questions seeking clarification. Nor did the statement specify which Jewish leaders Miller had spoken with.
Miller had twice attempted to explain her decision to reference Hitler: once in a tweet that was later deleted and again in a tweet that replaced it.
The first tweet said: "Let me be clear. I would never glorify a genocidal dictator. It's the left's propaganda that controls the youth and social media is utilized as a machine to do this," The Chicago Sun-Times reported. The replacement tweet said: "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."
The BND sought more information Friday from Miller's office about who is trying to use Hitler's teachings in the United States to educate children.
Who is Illinois Congresswoman Mary Miller?
Miller owns Miller Brothers Farm in rural central Illinois along with her husband, Republican state Rep. Chris Miller of the 110th District. Mary Miller's freshman term in Congress is the first public office she has held.
In 2019 and 2020, she raised nearly $422,000 in campaign contributions from conservative political action committees and more than $435,000 from individuals.
William Montgomery, the founder of a pro-Trump activist student group, Turning Point USA, asked her to run for Congress so she could "represent the family," Miller said during her speech at the rally in D.C. Montgomery died this summer of COVID-19 complications.
Miller was involved with Turning Point USA in the 2020 election cycle, attending the group's summit in Florida in December along with her husband. The Anti-Defamation League flagged Turning Point USA for "racist or bigoted comments" made by the organization's leadership.
She appeared in an interview from the summit on the far-right show "The Nation Speaks," operated by the media organization New Tang Dynasty Television. Known as NTDTV in the United States, the station was founded by practitioners of Falun Gong, a Chinese spiritual discipline.
The Nation Speaks also interviewed Miller's husband at the summit. In the interview, Chris Miller said he became interested in politics after nearly 50 years of farming because of tax increases.
Chris Miller spoke at a "Save America" rally in Washington, D.C., this week, where he said the United States is in "a culture war."
"We're engaged in a great culture war to see which world view will survive, whether we will remain a free people under free market capitalism or whether they will put us into the tyranny of socialism, communism and dangerous Democrat terrorists that are trying to destroy our country," Chris Miller said.