Rep. Mary Miller is very sorry — that others are trying to 'twist' her words.
A newly sworn-in Republican congresswoman issued a sort-of apology on Friday for a speech praising Adolf Hitler.
"Earlier this week, I spoke to a group of mothers about the importance of faith and guarding our youth from destructive influences," she said. "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."
Then she blamed others for unfairly criticizing her comments and suggested that she could not be antisemitic because she likes Israel.
"While some are trying to intentionally twist my words to mean something antithetical to my beliefs," she continued, "let me be clear: I’m passionately pro-Israel and I will always be a strong advocate and ally of the Jewish community."
The comments in question suggested that she believed Hitler had been wise in his efforts to indoctrinate youths to become Nazis.
"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," she said at the Monday rally. "Hitler was right on one thing. He said, 'Whoever has the youth has the future.'"
That speech drew widespread criticism from both parties.
Democratic Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth and Reps. Jan Schakowsky and Marie Newman, along with several state legislators, called on Miller to resign.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) responded Wednesday by writing, "I outright condemn this garbage."
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat, told reporters that Miller's comments were "unfathomable and disgusting," as "Hitler got nothing right."
All thirteen Democratic members of Illinois' House delegation released a statement on Wednesday condemning Miller for a "repugnant comment, on a repugnant day" that was a "black mark on the body and a black mark on our state."
The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum also weighed in. "We unequivocally condemn any leader trying to advance a position that Adolf Hitler was 'right,'" it said.
"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 the museum's press statement. "I implore our leaders and all Americans not to misuse this history - my history. It minimizes the evil that was Nazism, dishonors the memory of the victims, and pains the survivors. We should be learning from history, not exploiting it."
Conservatives frequently suggest that being pro-Israel is proof that one cannot be antisemitic.
Jewish voters shrugged off this argument, voting for President-elect Joe Biden in November 2020 by a large supermajority.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.