JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri’s Republican-led Senate on Wednesday formally reprimanded a Missouri State Senator and Democratic colleague for a Facebook post hoping for President Donald Trump’s assassination, while the House took the less-serious step of opening an ethics review of a Republican’s post calling for a Confederate monument vandal to be hanged.
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 on 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 his hope that whoever vandalized a Confederate monument in Springfield, Mo., 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 evoke images of lynchings of black people.
Chappelle-Nadal is black and Love is white. Both have apologized but declined to resign.
The contrasting actions prompted some criticism on the first day the Missouri Legislature had convened since the Facebook posts were made.
“Republicans have repeatedly said whatever happens to Sen. Chappelle-Nadal should also happen to Rep. Love, and Republicans have yet to stand by that,” Assistant House Democratic Leader Gina Mitten told The Associated Press.
The vote to publicly censure Chappelle-Nadal — which Republican Senate leaders said was a first in Missouri history — was a bipartisan 28-2 and the resolution also renewed a call for her to resign.
But the lawmaker from the St. Louis area said “an overwhelming number” of constituents were asking her to remain in office.
“The calls I get are, ‘You did something wrong, and we stand by you,'” she said.
Senate leaders had previously removed Chappelle-Nadal from her committee assignments.
Love remains on committees, but Republican House Speaker Todd Richardson said Wednesday that he still could be removed pending the outcome of the bipartisan House Ethics Committee review, which is to be completed by January. Love did not speak publicly Wednesday.
“What’s important is that we follow our process and that we make it clear that nobody should ever be making a call to violence,” Richardson said.