JEFFERSON CITY, Mo — State Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-University, has publicly apologized to President Donald Trump, R, but has not gone as far as resigning. During a Sunday press conference at a Ferguson church surrounded by supporters, the Senator says she messed up when commenting on social media that she hopes the president is assassinated.
“I stand accused and I do, rightfully, because I made a mistake. You know what I’m reminded of, is that we are all human,” says Chappelle-Nadal. “I am not ever going to make a mistake like that again and I have learned my lesson.”
Chappelle-Nadal, who is African-American, says her comment is out of frustration with Trump “causing so much hate” and a white nationalists rally in Virginia.
“I am a servant of God and I am a servant of the people that I represent. I failed them both recently, but I’m reminded of the kindness that has been afforded me and so many others that have made mistakes,” says Chappelle-Nadal.
The public backlash has been strong on both sides of the equation. Missouri state and federal lawmakers in both major parties have called for her resignation. If Chappelle-Nadal does not step down by the September 13 veto session, Republican Lieutenant Governor Mike Parson wants the Senate to vote to expel her.
Parson says he’s seeking a legal opinion from the Attorney General’s Office to ensure Article III of the state Constitution will fully apply to his call. Under the section Parson is referring to, two-thirds of Missouri Senate members would have to vote to remove her from office.
If the Senate is successful in expelling her, the move would be historic in Missouri. Expulsion proceedings have occurred in the state, but those actions have reportedly not been followed through.
Chappelle-Nadal’s supporters have led an “I Stand with Maria” campaign on social media. Many of them are questioning why she must resign when some of her white counterparts have made similar comments about former Democratic President Barack Obama.
Another question being raised involves her First Amendment right to free speech. The issue could get into lengthy, noisy and costly legal territory about her protected Constitutional right. Chappelle-Nadal is term-limited from office and would serve her final legislative year in 2018.
The Secret Service is reportedly investigating her comment.