An Illinois state senator from the Chicago area was forced to apologize after a weekend fundraiser included a mock assassination of President Donald Trump.
Martin Sandoval held the $250-minimum-donation event Friday at the Klein Creek Golf Club, and at first, things appeared to be going well. A number of supporters came out to the event in costume — mainly Marvel Comics Universe superheroes like Captain America, according to local CBS affiliate WCIA.
But then photos emerged from the event showing one person in a Donald Trump mask while another person pointed a fake assault weapon at him.
A Friday night political fundraiser for Illinois State @SenatorSandoval featured photos of a man pointing a fake assault weapon at another person in a @realDonaldTrump mask, simulating a mock assassination. Sandoval has since apologized. https://t.co/eJ6883Xq1Q
— Mark Maxwell (@MarkMaxwellTV) August 19, 2019
Sandoval did apologize for the incident, telling WCIA via email, “The incident that took place is unacceptable,” he said. “I don’t condone violence toward the President or anyone else. I apologize that something like this happened at my event.” (RELATED: New York Times Publishes Trump Assassination Fantasy After Asking Fiction Writers To Imagine End To Mueller Investigation)
The incident was roundly condemned from both sides of the aisle.
“As our nation grapples with the epidemic of gun violence, purposely pointing a fake gun at anyone is insensitive and wrong,” Democratic Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Saturday, according to WCIA. “I condemn actions like the ones displayed in the pictures because they lack the civility our politics demands.”
“The tragedies in El Paso and Gilroy have demonstrated how hate-filled political rhetoric can fuel violence,” Maura Possley, a spokeswoman for the Illinois Democratic Party, added. “These images are unacceptable and dangerous. The place to make our voices heard against Trump is at the ballot box.”
Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider called Sandoval’s apology “too little, too late,” noting that if the people involved in the mock assassination had been staffers, their employment should be terminated immediately.
“Dangerous imagery like this will be condemned and seen as inappropriate by people of sound mind; however, a mentally unstable individual who wants to harm President Trump might find them as an inspiration. It’s inexcusable for an elected official to allow the promotion of violence in any way,” he said.