Missouri State Senator Under Fire for Trump Assassination Comment
On Thursday, a Democratic Missouri state Senator posted a Facebook comment saying, “I hope Trump is assassinated!”
The senator, Maria Chappelle-Nadal, originally wrote a status on her private Facebook page condemning President Donald Trump’s response to the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. The assassination comment was in reply to another comment someone else made on that status.
“I didn’t mean what I put up. Absolutely not,” Chappelle-Nadal told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I was very frustrated. Things have got to change.”
She deleted the comment shortly after posting it. However, another user had already taken screenshots.
Secret Service officials announced on Friday that they were “looking into the comments.” They added that it is their policy to investigate all threats against the president, regardless of whether the threat was direct or implied.
In response to the post, Chapelle-Nadal’s fellow lawmakers are urging her to resign.
“State Senator Chappelle-Nadal’s comments are indefensible,” Missouri Democratic Party Chair Stephen Webber said in a statement. “All sides need to agree that there is no room for suggestions of political violence in America–and the Missouri Democratic Party will absolutely not tolerate calls for the assassination of the President. I believe she should resign.”
Other lawmakers, including U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Representative William Lacy Clay (D-MO), echoed Webber’s sentiment. In particular, Clay called Chappelle-Nadal “an embarrassment to our state.”
Later, Lieutenant Governor Michael Parson tweeted out his own call for her resignation.
RELEASE: LT. GOVERNOR PARSON CALLS FOR IMMEDIATE RESIGNATION OF SEN. MARIA CHAPPELLE-NADAL AFTER PRESIDENT OF THE US ASSASSINATION POST pic.twitter.com/c72bEp80lo
— Office of the Lt Gov (@MOLtGov) August 17, 2017
But the senator is standing her ground. “I am not resigning. What I said was wrong, but I am not going to stop talking about what led to that, which is the frustration and anger that many people across America are feeling right now,” she explained.
Later, in an interview with local radio station KMOX, she added:
There are legislators who have cheated on their wives, they have smoked in the legislature, in the state capitol. If they have not been asked to resign for those acts, which I do believe that cheating on your wife or your spouse is immoral, I am not resigning for a mistake that I made and that I’m owning up to.
She also refuses to apologize for making the comment in the first place. “When the President apologizes, I’ll apologize,” she said. “I’m not apologizing for being frustrated and angry at the bigot that we have in our White House.”
She insists that she was exercising her First Amendment right to free speech.
This is not the first time that Chapelle-Nadal has been at the center of controversy. In 2011, she referred to black lawmakers who supported local control of the St. Louis police department as “house slaves.” She also tweeted a vulgar message to the governor of Missouri after the state’s Highway Patrol sprayed her and others with tear gas in Ferguson in 2014.