CHICAGO, Ill. (WCIA) — Illinois’ newest member of Congress is facing widespread public backlash after quoting Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler at a political rally in front of the U.S. Capitol Building on Tuesday.
Governor J.B. Pritzker, who is Jewish, minced no words when he condemned U.S. Rep. Mary Miller for saying that Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler got “one thing” right.
“Let me be clear: Hitler got nothing right,” Pritzker said during a COVID-19 press update. “This reprehensible rhetoric has no place in our politics.”
Miller addressed a crowd at the ‘Moms for America’ rally, and praised Hitler’s strategy of indoctrinating youth to build a lasting political movement.
“This is the battle,” Miller said. “Hitler was right on one thing. He said, ‘Whoever has the youth has the future.’”
The remark is a paraphrase of a statement the former Führer delivered during a Nazi party rally in 1935: “He alone who owns the youth gains the future.”
Pritzker called on Illinois Republicans to “stand and… condemn this vile, evil streak in their party.”
Before Pritzker’s press conference, Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger had already tweeted, “I outright condemn this garbage.”
Illinois Republican Party chairman Tim Schneider, who announced his resignation last month, said, “That language is wrong and disgusting. We urge Congresswoman Miller to apologize.”
The head of the Anti-Defamation League responded to Miller’s speech, saying “invoking [Hitler’s] name in this or any other context is wildly offensive and disrespects the millions who perished due to the Nazis’ hateful, genocidal regime.”
State Representative Jonathan Carroll (D-Northbrook) also condemned Miller’s statement.
“I’m in complete shock that our newest Congresswoman from IL would quote one of the worst monsters in our world’s history,” he said. “Maybe she should educate herself as to the context of that quote and how hurtful this is to my community and the impact of Hitler’s efforts.”
State Representative Bob Morgan (D-Highwood) called on Miller to apologize for the remark.
Later in the day, the Illinois Legislative Jewish Caucus released the following statement:
“U.S. Congressperson Mary Miller (R-IL) has demonstrated an act of blatant antisemitism and disrespect to the Jewish people and all those who perished at the hands of the Nazis.
“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.
“If Rep. Miller has any respect left for the role of a U.S. Congressperson or any shred of dignity in her, she will do what’s right and resign.”
Jewish community leaders have responded to Miller’s speech as well.
“If there was a particular sentiment that the Congresswoman wanted to express, there are many other people who have expressed important ideas throughout history, and she could have chosen any number of inspirational speakers to have made a point,” Sinai Temple Rabbi Alan Cook said. “To choose to highlight remarks of Adolf Hitler, one of the most notorious monsters and perpetrators of genocide in human history, I think is inappropriate and insensitive.”
Erez Cohen, director of the University of Illinois Hillel, released the following statement:
“Praising Adolf Hitler is an affront to every American WWII veteran and Holocaust victim. Hillel at the University of Illinois has done extensive work to create and provide educational programming about the Holocaust and the atrocities led by Hitler against mankind. We hope Rep. Miller will apologize for her comment and attend any of the countless Holocaust education programs available including ours at Illini Hillel.”Erez Cohen, UIUC Hillel director
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum released a statement as well:
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum unequivocally condemns any leader trying to advance a position by claiming Adolf Hitler was “right.” 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.The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum