Illinois Republican Mary Miller told a crowd at a rally held alongside former president Donald Trump that the supreme court’s decision to overturn Roe v Wade was a “victory for white life”.
“President Trump, on behalf of all the Maga patriots in America, I want to thank you for the historic victory for white life in the supreme court yesterday,” she said, drawing cheers from the crowd in Illinois.
Miller is running for reelection in the state’s newly redrawn 15th congressional district against GOP Republican Rodney Davis with the former president’s blessing. She had been invited on stage to speak by Trump, who held the rally in Mendon, Illinois, to turn out the vote ahead of the state’s primary on Tuesday.
Miller’s spokesperson said the Illinois Republican had intended to say the decision was a victory for a “right to life”. The line as delivered was out of step with the disproportionate impact the repeal of abortion rights will have on women of color.
Miller spokesperson Isaiah Wartman told the Associated Press that it was “a mix-up of words”.
“You can clearly see in the video … she’s looking at her papers and looking at her speech,” Wartman said.
Her campaign noted that she is the grandmother of several non-white grandchildren, including one with Down syndrome.
The freshman congresswoman, who was among those who voted to overturn the results of the 2020 election, has previously come under criticism for quoting Adolf Hitler.
“Hitler was right on one thing. He said, ‘Whoever has the youth has the future,’” Miller said in a speech last year, according to video posted by WCIA-TV. She later apologized after Democrats in Illinois called for her resignation.
Saturday’s rally came as some elements of the far right have pushed the “great replacement theory”, a racist ideology that alleges white people and their influence are being “replaced” by people of color. Proponents blame both immigration as well as demographic changes, such as birthrates.
During the rally, Trump claimed credit for his role in the supreme court’s ruling on Friday ending the constitutional right to abortion. He noted that in 2016, he promised to appoint judges who opposed abortion rights. The three conservative justices he appointed all voted in favor over overturning Roe v Wade.
“Yesterday the court handed down a victory for the constitution, a victory for the rule of law, and above all, a victory for life,” he told the crowd, which broke into a chant of “Thank you Trump”.
After Friday’s ruling, several senators who recently approved justices responsible for this decision said they felt deceived. These politicians pointed to prior statements from Trump appointees Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch; both male judges had claimed they would not overturn Roe v Wade.