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U.S. Rep. Mary Miller faced backlash after a comment at a Saturday night rally with former President Donald Trump in west central Illinois when she credited him for the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, calling it a “victory for white life.”
Miller's opponent in the hotly contested 15th Congressional District Republican primary, U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, seized on it, noting Miller's comments "are just another part in a disturbing pattern of behavior she's displayed since coming to Congress."
Trump, who endorsed Miller when she launched her campaign on New Year's Day, also endorsed state Sen. Darren Bailey, R-Xenia, for governor, calling them both "warriors."
Miller spokesman Isaiah Wartman told NBC News that Miller "meant to say 'right to life.'" Miller appeared to be reading from prepared remarks at the rally at the Adams County Fairgrounds in Mendon.
Wartman did not immediately respond to a text message from The State Journal-Register seeking clarification.
In a later tweet, Miller said she would "always defend the RIGHT TO LIFE!"
Trump appointed three U.S. Supreme Court justices during his presidency. The Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Mississippi was handed down Friday.
It wasn't the first time Miller, R-Oakland, has been ensnared in a verbal controversy.
At a Jan. 5, 2021 rally for Trump, Miller said children were being "propagandized" and that “Hitler was right on one thing. He said, ‘Whoever has the youth has the future.’"
Miller was paraphrasing a remark Hitler gave at a 1935 rally. She later apologized.
In a tweet Sunday, Miller said Davis was smearing her and her family "because he is a failing career politician trying to hide the fact that he voted to fund Planned Parenthood & he voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016."
Miller sought an apology from Davis and the Associated Press for "dehumanizing" her grandchildren. Miller has two grandsons who have Downs Syndrome.
Who talks this way about babies?
For the last 16 hours, Rodney Davis & the Fake News Media have been attacking me & dehumanizing my grandchildren.
This is disgusting language. Look at the way they speak about my grand-babies.
I demand an apology from Rodney Davis & the @AP pic.twitter.com/EgXhrSJdGd
— Mary Miller (@Miller_Congress) June 26, 2022
Both Davis and Miller are incumbents vying for a seat in the newly drawn district, which includes parts of 35 counties, including part of Sangamon County, but skirts Springfield. Miller currently represents the 15th District while Davis has represented the 13th District since 2012.
Bailey, who is easily outdistancing five other Republicans, later joined Trump on stage. He promised that Illinois would "roll out the red carpet" for Trump in 2024.
Trump is widely believed to be running for president again.
"Darren is just the man to take on and defeat one of the worst governors in America, JB Pritzker," Trump said.
Trump, Pritzker countered in a tweet, "spread the Big Lie, incited a violent coup attempt, and tried to overthrow our democracy--all for his own personal gain."
Pritzker is running for reelection.
The primary is Tuesday. The Davis/Miller winner will face Democrat Paul Lange of Quincy.
NEW: Mary Miller campaign tells me that at tonight's Trump rally the congresswoman misread her prepared remarks at tonight's Illinois Trump rally in Mendon and meant to say "right to life" not white life.
— Natasha Korecki (@natashakorecki) June 26, 2022
This story will be updated.
Contact Steven Spearie: 217-622-1788, email@example.com, twitter.com/@StevenSpearie.
This article originally appeared on State Journal-Register: Mary Miller thanks Trump for 'victory for white life' in Illinois