On Thursday, a Democratic Missouri state senator posted, and then quickly deleted, a Facebook comment saying she hoped President Donald Trump would be assassinated. Democrats have called for her to resign, but she refused.
“I hope Trump is assassinated!” Maria Chappelle-Nadal, the state senator from University City, said in her comment, as preserved by radio host Mark Reardon.
— Mark Reardon (@MarkReardonKMOX) August 17, 2017
As a result of Chappelle-Nadal’s comment, the U.S. Secret Service’s St. Louis field office is investigating, and both Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Missouri Democratic Party Chairman Stephen Webber called on her to resign.
Chappelle-Nadal posted the comment out of frustration with the “trauma and despair” the president has caused with his statements about the events in Charlottesville, Va., the Kansas City Star reported.
“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.”
The state senator posted the comment on her personal Facebook page, which is not open to the public. “On my personal Facebook, I put up a statement saying that I really hate Trump. He’s causing trauma and nightmares. That was my original post,” Chappelle-Nadal added. Her assassination comment came later down in the thread.
“It was wrong for me to post that,” she said. “But I am not going to shy away from the damage this president is causing.”
Chappelle-Nadal recalled the three-year anniversary of the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, a city she represents in the state senate. She also noted the NAACP’s travel advisory for Missouri, which warns that civil rights would not be respected in the state.
“There are people who are afraid of going out in the streets,” she said. “It’s worse than even Ferguson.” She blamed such a climate on the president. His comments this weekend “make it easier for racists to be racists.”
Missouri State Senate Minority Leader Gina Walsh (D) condemned Chappelle-Nadal’s comment. “Promoting, supporting or suggesting violence against anyone, especially our elected leaders, is never acceptable,” Walsh said. “There is too much rancor and hate in today’s political discourse, and Sen. Chappelle-Nadal should be ashamed of herself for adding her voice to this toxic environment.”
Sen. McCaskill agreed. “I condemn it. It’s outrageous. And she should resign,” she said in a statement.
Stephen Webber, chairman of the state’s Democratic Party, condemned her statement as “indefensible.” He said, “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.”
“I don’t care what the president says or how mad you are, you don’t call for his assassination,” Republican State House Rep. Shamed Dogan posted on Twitter. “Especially if you’re an elected official.”
I don't care what the President says or how mad you are, you don't call for his assassination!!! Especially if you're an elected official. https://t.co/jS5W56DFFr
— Shamed Dogan (@Dogan4Rep) August 17, 2017
“I’m not resigning,” Chappelle-Nadal told the Star. “Legislators cheat on their wives or smoke marijuana and are not asked to resign. I’m not resigning over a simple mistake.”
Even so, the state senator will not be able to run for re-election next year because of term limits.
This is far from the first scandal in Chappelle-Nadal’s tenure. In 2011, she called black lawmakers who supported local control of the St. Louis Police Department “house slaves” and got into a fight with then-state Rep. Jamilah Nasheed.
She also panned former Gov. Jay Nixon, specifically attacking his response to the unrest in Ferguson after Brown’s death in 2014. She carried a large photo of Nixon’s head, calling him “Flat Jay.”
What will Chappelle-Nadal do when she leaves the state senate? Her denunciations of Trump’s “hate” would make her fit in perfectly at the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).