An American congresswoman was thanking former president Donald Trump for his role in the Supreme Court overturning Roe v Wade when she said the decision was a “victory for white life”.
US representative Mary Miller of Illinois was speaking at a rally on Saturday night with the former president when she made the comments. Her spokesman subsequently said it was a mistake and she meant to say “right to life”.
The line as it was delivered was out of step with the disproportionate impact the repeal of abortion rights will have on women of colour.
Ms Miller is running for re-election in the state’s newly redrawn 15th Congressional District against Republican Rodney Davis with the former president’s blessing.
She had been invited on stage to speak by Mr Trump, who held the rally in Mendon, Illinois, to turn out the vote ahead of the state’s primary on Tuesday.
“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.
Ms Miller spokesman’s 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,” Mr 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, previously came under criticism for quoting Adolf Hitler.
“Hitler was right on one thing. He said, ‘Whoever has the youth has the future,’” Ms Miller said in a speech last year, according to video posted by WCIA-TV. She later apologised after Democrats in Illinois called for her resignation.
The 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 colour.
Proponents blame both immigration as well as demographic changes, including white birth rates.
During the rally, Mr Trump took a victory lap for the Supreme Court’s bombshell ruling on Friday ending the constitutional right to abortion. The three conservative justices he appointed all voted in favour.
He noted that in 2016, he promised to appoint judges who opposed abortion rights.
“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!”.
Mr Trump at the rally also endorsed Republican Darren Bailey, who is running to become the party’s nominee for governor.