JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri's Republican-led Senate on Wednesday formally reprimanded a Democratic colleague for a Facebook post hoping for President Donald Trump's assassination while the House referred to an ethics panel a complaint about a Republican's post calling for a Confederate monument opponent to be hung from a tree.
The differing legislative actions came in response to comments posted last month by Democratic Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal and Republican Rep. Warren Love amid a nationwide controversy over Confederate monuments and white nationalist rallies.
Numerous top Republican and Democratic officials in Missouri have called upon Chappelle-Nadal to resign after she wrote "I hope Trump is assassinated!" on her personal Facebook page and later deleted it. She has said the remark was made in frustration over Trump's response to a white nationalist rally in Virginia that descended into violence.
Some also have called for Love to resign for a Facebook post expressing hope that whoever vandalized a Confederate monument in Springfield, Missouri, would be "hung from a tall tree with a long rope." Love has said he was using old cowboy jargon for saying he hopes the vandal is prosecuted, but Democrats have said his words evoking images of lynchings of black residents.
Chappelle-Nadal is black and Love is white. Both have apologized but have declined to resign.
Some Republicans had called for Chapelle-Nadal to be ousted but that didn't happen Wednesday.
Instead, the Republican-dominated state Senate voted to publicly censure her. In a resolution, they again called for her to resign and warned that she still could be kicked out later.
Chapelle-Nadal previously was removed from her committee assignments.
Love remains on committees, though House Speaker Todd Richardson said Wednesday that he still could be removed pending the outcome of the bipartisan House Ethics Committee review.
Senate leaders made these remarks:
“The recent comments made online by one of our state senators was not only unacceptable, but it threatened the integrity of the Senate. Expressing a desire for violence against the President is egregious, unfitting, and unbecoming conduct for a senator.
We had hoped Sen. Chappelle-Nadal would realize the seriousness of her statements, take responsibility for her words, and resign on her own accord. However, since that was not the case, the Senate moved for censuring the senator effective immediately. The censure also urges her to resign or face possible expulsion in the future.”
- Senate Leader Ron Richard, R-Joplin, District 32
“Censuring a sitting member has never been done in the history of the Missouri Senate. It is not something the Senate takes lightly. If Sen. Chappelle-Nadal was doing the right thing for her constituents, she would have resigned. Demonstrating a disrespect for the democratic process has no place in the Missouri Senate.”
- Majority Floor Leader Mike Kehoe, R-Jefferson City, District 6
She issued this statement:
“Again, I apologize for the Facebook posting. However, I have made it clear that I will not resign. The voters of my district elected me to represent them. I will work tirelessly for the remainder of my elected term to bring about positive change for my constituents and all Missourians.”