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U.S. Rep. Mary Miller immediately drew fierce backlash on social media and elsewhere at a Saturday night rally with former President Donald Trump when she credited him for the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade calling it a “victory for white life.”
“I want to thank you for the historic victory for white life in the Supreme Court yesterday,” Miller said, then raised her arms in an animated clap amid cheers from the crowd, which numbered in the thousands on a sweltering day in West Central Illinois.
But Miller’s campaign said Saturday night that the congresswoman misread prepared remarks at a rally that Trump held for her in the village of Mendon.
"You can clearly see she is reading off a piece of paper, she meant to say ‘right to life,'" Miller spokesman Isaiah Wartman said.
Miller, R-Illinois, later tweeted: “I will always defend the RIGHT TO LIFE!”
I will always defend the RIGHT TO LIFE! pic.twitter.com/BUh5vnk5Vs
— Mary Miller (@Miller_Congress) June 26, 2022
The statement unleashed a forceful rebuke on social media, likening Miller to a white supremacist and recalling her quoting Adolf Hitler on Jan. 6, 2021 — the day a mob broke into the nation’s Capitol. She later apologized.
The misstep Saturday couldn’t come at a worse time for Miller, who is locked in a tight contest with Rep. Rodney Davis in Illinois’ newly drawn 15th Congressional District.
Wartman made a subsequent statement in response to unforgiving coverage of Miller's gaffe.
“Joe Biden doesn’t know where he is half the time and the Fake News refuses to cover it. Mary stumbles while saying 'Right to Life' and the fake news vultures are out,” he said in a text message.
"To suggest that she is somehow not committed to defending all life is disgusting. She has the most Pro-Life voting record in Congress and is the proud grandmother of two beautiful grandchildren with down syndrome," Wartman said. "The fake news media is targeting Mary Miller because she is doing everything she can to stop the Democrats from allowing the massacre of babies like her grandchildren."
But her opponent, Davis, on Sunday didn’t buy that this was a slip up. Citing her comment last year quoting Hitler, he said it was another example of her “catering to the extremes.”
“Mary Miller’s comments yesterday are just another part in a disturbing pattern of behavior she’s displayed since coming to Congress,” Davis said in a statement. “This is why she uses the Biden basement strategy and refuses to answer questions or hold public events ... Miller has demonstrated she is not fit for public office. This is why it’s so important to vote in our Republican Primary on Tuesday and show the country Miller’s behavior is unacceptable.”
The Trump rally drew thousands of people on Saturday, at an event where Trump also endorsed GOP gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey.
Bailey has led in recent polls against Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin, despite Irvin having the backing of billionaire Ken Griffin. Griffin, who poured tens of millions of dollars into Irvin’s race, announced last week he was moving his hedge fund Citadel’s headquarters from Chicago to Miami.