Missouri state senators decided Wednesday to reprimand a Democrat who wrote on her Facebook page that she hoped someone would assassinate President Trump.
However, there is a chance Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal could be expelled from the Senate when the Missouri Legislature reconvenes next year.
Chappelle-Nadal, who wrote “I hope Trump is assassinated” in an August Facebook post, refused again to resign from the Missouri Legislature on Friday.
“They understand that I have made a mistake,” Chappelle-Nadal said of her constituents, as the Democrat explained why she wouldn’t resign. “I have to continue working to build that trust and do the hard work of the district.”
However, the senator also said she was “thankful” that her colleagues decided to censure her.
“What I said politically and spiritually was wrong,” Chappelle-Nadal told St. Louis Public Radio. “When it comes to the Constitution, and when it comes to the First Amendment, that’s a different matter.”
Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal (D) was censured and given a written reprimand by her Senate colleagues for that Facebook post.
Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kehoe (R) told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch she could still be expelled doing the chamber’s next regular session, in January. The resolution includes that possibility, in addition to calling for Chappelle-Nadal’s resignation.
“At a time in our country where there are some rough spots that we’ve experienced, hatred on either side of the debate is not welcome in policy discussions,” said Kehoe.
The possibility of facing expulsion again in 2018 worries Chappelle-Nadal.
“That’s something for the legislature and my attorneys to decide what they’re going to do when that happens, if that happens,” Chappelle-Nadal said.
Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, one of only two Democrats who voted against the censure resolution, said what Chappelle-Nadal had posted about Trump was “horrible.” But Nasheed said what the Senate did to her colleague was also wrong.
“This is about Republicans pandering to their base. And it’s about Democrats who want to run statewide hoping that it won’t harm them,” Nasheed said.
Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard said Nasheed’s comment was the “silliest thing I have ever heard of.”
“It’s about a comment … against the president of the United States,” Richard said. “I mean, God forbid if I’d have done that, I’m sure I would’ve been under the same pressures to resign.”
Chappelle-Nadal told the Kansas City Star her Facebook post, which she quickly pulled down, was a comment that came from the “trauma and despair” Trump caused when he blamed both sides for violence in the deadly Charlottesville, Va., protest over a statue of Robert E. Lee.
“The way I responded this morning was wrong,” Chappelle-Nadal said. “I’m frustrated. Did I mean the statement? No. Am I frustrated? Absolutely. The president is causing damage. He’s causing hate.”
That wasn’t good enough for Missouri Democratic Party Chair Stephen Webber. He quickly called for her ouster.
“State Senator Chappelle-Nadal’s comments are indefensible. 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,” Webber said in a statement. “I believe she should resign.”
Ironically, Chappelle-Nadal has only Republicans to thank for the decision not to seek her expulsion from the Senate.
Gov. Eric Greitens (R) and Lt. Gov. Mike Parson (R) called for Chappelle-Nadal to be expelled from the Senate as soon as they learned of her Trump assassination post in August.
“Senator Chappelle-Nadal said she hopes the president is killed. Republicans and Democrats have called on her to resign. Her response: ‘Hell no.’ Last night, in an interview, she refused to apologize—twice,” said Greitens.
“If she will not resign, the Senate can vote to remove her. I believe they should,” Greitens added.
Parson said that as a “veteran of the armed forces,” he was “personally offended” by Chappelle-Nadal’s Facebook post.
“It is a total disgrace for the senator to call for the assassination of the president or any elected official,” said Parson. “I will not sit idly by and let this kind of behavior transpire in our state, especially from members of our government.”
But Republican Sens. Bob Dixon, Ed Emery and Rob Schaaf came out against expulsion. That meant the GOP wouldn’t be able to get the 23 votes needed to remove her from office, so Republicans nixed the idea.
However, Senate leaders were able to round up 28 votes to censure Chappelle-Nadal.
“There were some people who really wanted to support me,” Chappelle-Nadal said. “There’s some people I know were thinking about their political futures.”
The same day Chappelle-Nadal was being censured in the Louisiana Senate, the House took no action against Republican Rep. Warren Love, who wrote on his Facebook page that the people who vandalized a Confederate memorial in Springfield, Mo., should be “hung from a tall tree with a long rope.”
“His comments are absolutely out of line,” said House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty (D). “And clearly he’s not apologetic about it because if he was, he’d remove it from his Facebook page.”