Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal joked that the secret service would be looking into a comment she made on Facebook, and her jest has become a reality.
In a shocking post, the sitting Missouri state senator said, “I hope Trump is assassinated!”
Chappelle-Nadal of University City near St. Louis posted the comment as she was chatting with a friend, according to reports. A screenshot taken of the conversation starts with a person named Christopher Gagné writing about a cousin who he said is part of President Trump’s Secret Service detail.
On the screen shot, Gagné is directing his comment to Sen. Chappelle-Nadal.
He wrote: “Maria, I wonder what my cousin is thinking now. He’s on Trump’s Secret Service detail. You have to sign up for 6 years, he did his first 4 with Obama and has two to go with this idiot. But, what I posted earlier, I truly believe will happen, sooner….not later.”
Gagné seems to be referencing an earlier assertion that the president would be assassinated, but he now says it was in reference to a prior belief that Vice President Mike Pence would have Trump removed from office.
Concerned about how his message would translate, Gagné immediately sent a second post that read: “Damn, now I’ll probably get a visit from the secret service smdh.”
Chappelle-Nadal responded in a decidedly ill-advised way. She wrote: “No. I will. I hope Trump is assassinated!”
— PoliticMo (@PoliticMo) August 17, 2017
The senator’s comment has now been removed, but not before the damage was done.
On Thursday, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and the chairman of the Missouri Democratic Party both called for Chappelle-Nadal’s resignation, the same day on which the U.S. Secret Service confirmed it is investigating the incident.
“I condemn it,” McCaskill said in a brief emailed statement. “It’s outrageous. And she should resign.”
Stephen Webber, the Missouri Democratic Party chair likewise issued a statement in which he said Chappelle-Nadal’s comments “are indefensible.” Webber believes there is no place for any suggestion of political violence in America from any side.
“The Missouri Democratic Party will absolutely not tolerate calls for the assassination of the president,” Webber said. “I believe she should resign.”
Chappelle-Nadal confirmed to reporters that she wrote the hateful post, but says she was emotionally charged at the time over the events in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday.
“I didn’t mean what I put up,” Chappelle-Nadal reportedly said, “… absolutely not. I was very frustrated. Things have got to change.”
In an interview, Chappelle-Nadal said, “I put that up on my personal Facebook and I should not have. It was in response to the concerns that I am hearing from residents of St. Louis.”
In another statement, Missouri Senate Democratic Caucus leader Sen. Gina Walsh wrote: “I strongly condemn and disavow Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal’s horrible comments. Promoting, supporting or suggesting violence against anyone, especially our elected leaders, is never acceptable. 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.”
Kristina Schmidt, the special agent in charge of the U.S. Secret Service’s St. Louis field office, said that in investigations of the type that will be perused over Chappelle-Nadal’s comments, agents “determine intent to determine if there was a violation of federal law. If there is, then we refer it to the U.S. Attorney.”
“Our primary goal is to determine if there is intent and meaning behind it,” Schmidt said.
— KRCG 13 (@KRCG13) August 17, 2017
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