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US congresswoman apologises for referencing Hitler at pro-Trump rally

Republican Mary Miller had initially doubled down on her remarks that 'Hitler was right on one thing - that whoever has the youth has the future'
Mary Miller, who has been in office for less than a week
Miller, who has been in office for less than a week, drew widespread condemnation, sparking calls for her to resign over her comments (AFP/File photo)

US Representative Mary Miller, a Republican legislator from Illinois, apologised on Friday for referencing Hitler during a pro-Trump rally.

Earlier this week, at an event entitled "Moms for America Saving the Republic", Miller stressed the importance of passing down proper values to the next generation, something she said Hilter was also known for.  

"If we win a few elections we're still going to be losing unless we win the hearts of our children," she said. "It's the battle. Hitler was right on one thing - that whoever has the youth has the future. Our children are being propagandised."

Despite mounting calls from other lawmakers for her resignation over the controversial remarks, Miller doubled down on Thursday, saying her comments were a "denunciation of evil dictators" and aimed at "left-wing radicals".

But on Friday, Miller, who has been in office for less than a week, said she regretted her speech and claimed it was being "intentionally" twisted by some.

"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," she said. 

"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."

'Despicable comments'

Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth and Representative Jan Schakowsky, both Democrats, publicly called on Miller, 61, 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 in a statement on Thursday.

"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," she continued. 

"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." 

The US Holocaust Memorial Museum also slammed Miller for her remarks, saying it "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," it added.