SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State representatives condemned Rep. Chris Miller Thursday night. Democrats say the Oakland Republican stood with insurrectionists and incited violence at the United States Capitol on January 6. They found countless examples of his words and actions unbecoming of a lawmaker.
Democrats and Republicans agree that words matter, no matter if you’re on the House floor or speaking at a rally. Miller’s racist and dangerous comments caught attention on May 16, speaking outside the Illinois Capitol.
“It’s time to take our country back, it’s time to take our state back. There’s always a silver lining in every so-called crisis. And the silver lining here is that we’re able to identify our enemies, both foreign and domestic. We have afore identified China as a foreign enemy,” Miller yelled to a Re-Open Illinois crowd. “We have identified our domestic enemies in Nancy Pelosi and JB Pritzker.”
Fast forward to Washington D.C. on January 5. Miller joined his wife, Congresswoman Mary Miller, when she invoked Adolf Hitler at a Trump rally hosted by Moms for America.
“If we win a few elections, we’re still going to be losing unless we win the hearts and minds of our children. This is the battle,” the outspoken Congresswoman said. “Hitler was right on one thing. He said, ‘Whoever has the youth has the future.’”
Mary Miller faced backlash from Democrats and Republicans following that statement. Chris Miller later faced scrutiny for his words during a Facebook live on January 6, shortly before the Capitol attack.
The Republican told viewers fellow Trump supporters were engaged in a “cultural war” to find out “which worldview” would survive. Miller said Republicans would either remain “free people” or end up under “tyranny of socialism and communism and dangerous Democrat terrorists.”
Last month, WCIA 3 broke a story showing a video of Miller’s truck with legislative license plates from the Sedition Hunters YouTube page. You could easily see A window decal supporting the Three Percenters on the truck’s back window. People with posters or shirts displaying the anti-government militia’s logo frequently appear at rallies Miller and other Eastern Blok lawmakers speak at.
“If Rep. Miller regretted his words, remorseful for his actions, he hasn’t shown it,” said Rep. Bob Morgan (D-Deerfield). “Which again, I think is really the most critical element of all of this.”
Setting a precedent
While many Republicans already disagreed with Miller’s actions, leaders stood up on his behalf and suggested lawmakers should wait to vote until the Legislative Inspector General completes an investigation.
“We’re setting a new precedent, a new standard, of how the men and women in the chamber are to be judged in their private lives,” said House Republican Leader Jim Durkin.
Yet, Democrats disagree with some who believe Miller couldn’t be held responsible for the violence since he only attended the rally and never knew rioters would follow through with their plans.
“Until we take a bipartisan stance against violence and the politicians who incite it, I fear it will not end,” said Rep. Daniel Didech (D-Buffalo Grove).
Miller defended himself on the House floor, saying he left a “peaceful” rally and walked back to his wife’s office. They later remained under lockdown during the insurrection.
“I had no part in the violent events at the Capitol that day,” Miller said. “And, I condemn any and all violence.”
Members voted 57-36 to approve the resolution condemning Miller. Five representatives had to vote present on the measure, as they serve on the Legislative Ethics Commission. Meanwhile, lawmakers are also curious to see the Legislative Inspector General’s report on Miller’s actions. Once published, the Ethics Commission can decide to make the information public or private.
“We can disagree all day long on politics and policy. We will and we shall. But, this is not about that,” Morgan stressed. “This is about right and wrong. It’s about the oath of office that we all took to serve in the General Assembly. And deep down, I know each and every one of you know that.”