Cindy Axne. (photo from Axne’s office.)

Democratic Congresswoman Cindy Axne says remarks she made during an online forum that were recently broadcast on a Fox News program were “misinterpreted.”

Host Tucker Carlson criticized Axne’s reference to “anti-vaxxer crazies” and Carlson told his audience Axne “clearly” loathes and hates them.

Axne told reporters earlier today: “As this talking head normally does, it’s taken out of context and completely misconstrued and, as a matter of fact, he put words in my mouth.”

During the brief video segment played on Fox, Axne appears to be commenting on the recent uproar over mask mandates in schools and she’s heard suggesting the situation is a “hot mess.”

“I’m frustrated by folks around this country who use religion as a way to deny science and put our communities at risk,” Axne said today, “because I grew up as a Catholic saying that you support people in your community, you serve others and you put others above yourself.”

After a meeting with constituents in Norwalk, Axne told reporters it’s wrong to try to weaponize religion to make political points.

“We’ve got to stop. We’ve just got to stop,” Axne said. “I hope that, as a country, we should come together as a country better and realize that we should be talking to the people, like I’m doing right now and going out and talking to the people I serve, as opposed to trying to create false narratives.”

State and national Republican groups have criticized Axne’s remarks on the Fox video, in which she’s heard saying the Christian right uses the cross like a political weapon. A spokesman for the Iowa GOP called the remark “disgusting.” The Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition said Axne is “out of step” with the “overwhelmingly…Christian culture” in Iowa. Axne, who described herself as a lifelong Catholic, suggested she’s following the words of Pope Francis.

“I’m not sure when we’re going to get past having the public understand that what they see on Fox television is being misinterpreted,” Axne said today.

Last month, the pope said the cross should not be used as “a political symbol” or “a flag to wave.”