Democratic, GOP leaders call for Chappelle-Nadal to resign over Trump assassination comment

Aug 17, 2017
Originally published on August 18, 2017 4:42 pm

Updated 2:20 p.m. Aug. 18 with lieutenant governor calling for expulsion — Missouri Lt. Gov. Mike Parson said Friday the state Senate should expel Maria Chappelle-Nadal due to her Facebook comment in which she hoped President Donald Trump would be assassinated.

Parson and other top Missouri Republicans and Democrats, from Washington, D.C., to Jefferson City, already have called for Chapelle-Nadal to step down. The University City Democrat has so far resisted numerous bipartisan calls for her resignation after the comment was posted and later deleted Thursday.

Parson went a step further Friday, saying that if she doesn't resign by the Sept. 13 veto session, he'll seek to have her removed from office under an article in the Missouri Constitution. Gov. Eric Greitens later tweeted that he concurred with the suggestion.

"This is not a decision that was made lightly. I believe that Sen. Chapelle-Nadal’s remarks and unwillingness to take responsibility for what she said make it clear that she is no longer fit to serve our state," he said.

When asked why he wouldn't seek censure considering Chappelle-Nadal has one more session on her term, Parson said: "In my entire career I’ve never heard of a Missouri state senator seeking the assassination of the President of the United States. I believe this calls for … extraordinary action and we   need, as the state of Missouri, to set an example for the other states of this country to make sure we’re not going to allow those things to happen."

Original story from Aug. 17

Several top Missouri Democrats and the state's Republican governor and lieutenant governor want state Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal to resign after she said Thursday she hopes President Donald Trump will be assassinated.

But the University City Democrat said she’s not going anywhere.

Chappelle-Nadal wrote in a Facebook comment Thursday that she “hoped Trump is assassinated.” The Democrat later deleted that message and told St. Louis Public Radio that she shouldn’t have written it.

“Out of my anger and frustration, I put up a post that I should not have put up,” Chappelle-Nadal said. “That was inappropriate for me to do so.”

Chappelle-Nadal's comments come in the wake of President Donald Trump's reaction to this weekend's events in Charlottesville, where one person was killed and 19 people were injured when a car drove through a crowd of people protesting the country’s biggest gathering of white nationalists in at least a decade. Two state troopers also died when the helicopter in which they were observing the gathering crashed. 

St. Louis Field Office of the Secret Service is investigating the comments, according to U.S. Secret Service spokeswoman Catherine Milhoan. She said the agency looks at all threats "against the president, vice president, and other protectees, whether they be direct, implied, or comments in passing."

The Facebook comment brought upon Chappelle-Nadal a ream of criticism from Missouri's national and local leaders.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill said in a statement: “I condemn it. It's outrageous. And she should resign.” U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay, who Chappelle-Nadal ran against in a Democratic primary last year, said in a statement that the senator "repeatedly demeaned her office and she is an embarrassment to our state."

Missouri Democratic Party Chairman Stephen Webber said the comments were “indefensible,” adding the party "will absolutely not tolerate calls for the assassination of the president. I believe she should resign.”  

Gov. Eric Greitens said on Facebook: "We can have differences in our country, but no one should encourage political violence. The Senator should resign." Lt. Gov. Mike Parson, the president of the Missouri Senate, believed Chappelle-Nadal "should immediately resign from her position, as this is conduct not befitting of a state senator or a Missourian." 
 
Senate Minority Leader Gina Walsh, D-Bellefontaine Neighbors, said Chappelle-Nadal’s “unacceptable behavior” has “no place in our caucus, the Capitol, or the Democratic Party.”
 
And state Rep. Joshua Peters, a St. Louis Democrat who has clashed with Chappelle-Nadal, called for the Missouri Senate to form a committee to censure and expel her.
 
But Chappelle-Nadal stressed that she would not step down from her Senate seat, which takes in portions of central and northern St. Louis County.
 

“I’ve seen that, but that doesn’t influence me at all,” said Chappelle-Nadal, referring to McCaskill and Webber’s statements. “No one is going to speak for African-Americans like I do.”

She added: “I do not wish any harm to our president. But I am not going to stop talking about the chaos he’s creating in this nation.”

Later in the day, she tweeted that Trump has "made our communities unsafe" and that people are hurting because of him.

Earlier this week, Chappelle-Nadal tweeted that the "Missouri KKK chapter will be marching in St. Louis." But St. Louis Public Radio talked with St. Louis officials and the National Park Service, all of which said there was no confirmation of any such rally.

Chappelle-Nadal was first elected to the Senate in 2010. She is term-limited beyond 2018.

Marshall Griffin in Jefferson City contributed to this report.

Follow Jason on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

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