WASHINGTON – A first-term Republican congresswoman who said "Hitler was right" at a pro-Trump rally in Washington D.C., defended her controversial statement, saying it was aimed at "left-wing radicals."
Rep. Mary Miller tweeted that her remarks were "a denunciation of evil dictators' efforts to re-educate young people and similar efforts by left-wing radicals in our country today."
Miller later issued an apology for "using a reference to one of the most evil dictators in history to illustrate the dangers that outside influences can have on our youth."
She also criticized those "trying to intentionally twist my words to mean something anithetical to my beliefs," citing her support for Israel and the Jewish community. She added that she has been in discussion with Jewish leaders across the country.
“Each generation has the responsibility to teach and train the next generation. 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,” she said in her speech.
Miller's remarks, delivered as part of a prepared speech and not adlibbed, drew rapid and widespread bipartisan condemnation, particuarly from officials from her state of Illinois.
Governor J.B. Pritzker, himself Jewish, called her remarks "unfathomable and disgusting" and said Illinois Republicans "cannot allow this to stand, and must condemn this vile, evil streak in their party."
Illinois Democratic Senator Tammy Duckworth called on Miller to resign immediately, calling her comments on "the perpetrator of the greatest genocide in world history is...disqualifying for an American elected official" and saying that her resignation would empower "someone who better understands the sacrifices our brave service members made during World War II" to represent Illinois.
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The Illinois Legislative Jewish Caucus also called for her resignation, saying "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."
Miller's husband is a Republican state legislator who has supported efforts to separate Chicago from the state due to its supposed outsized influence on legislation and culture, according to the Chicago Tribune. He reportedly attended the rally and spoke on the ongoing war between free-market capitalism and "dangerous Democratic terrorists in the United States."
His Republican colleague, Rep. Tim Butler, harshly criticized the Hitler remarks, saying "our elected officials must not normalize, validate, or support Hitler's memory, quotes, ideology, etc. Hitler was most certainly not 'right.'"
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has since issued criticizing Miller, saying it "unequivocally condemns any leader trying to advance a position by claiming Adolf Hitler was ‘right,’” the museum said in a statement. “Adolf Hitler’s Germany plunged Europe into the most destructive event in human history, World War II and the Holocaust resulting in the genocide of six million European Jews.”