Chappelle-Nadal posted “I hope Trump is assassinated!” in a Facebook conversation last week. After initially refusing to apologize, she relented and gave a mea culpa at a Sunday news conference — although she refused to heed calls for her resignation.
“President Trump, I apologize to you and your family,” Chappelle-Nadal said. “I made a mistake, and I’m owning up to it. And I’m not ever going to make a mistake like that again.”
That didn’t help smooth things over for Chappelle-Nadal, however. Now, 44,000 individuals have signed a petition demanding the lawmaker be removed and arrested, she’s been stripped of all of her committee assignments, the state’s most influential newspaper has openly called for her resignation and the Missouri state legislature may meet to expel the controversial Democrat.
The Change.org petition, which is addressed to Republican U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner from Missouri’s 2nd District, notes that threatening the president’s life isn’t just a faux pas.
“US Code Title 18, Section 871 clearly states that any threat to the President is considered a political offense,” the petition reads. “This is punishable up to 5 years in prison and $250,000 maximum fine. We cannot allow someone such as a State Senator who knowingly knew her position, took it for granted and used that to say whatever she wanted against our current President of the United States.”
According to Fox News, Chappelle-Nadal’s nine committee assignments have also been taken away from her after the threat against the president.
“I support the decision of Senate Minority Leader Gina Walsh to remove Sen. Chappelle-Nadal from all of her Senate committees,” Republican Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard said. “I am also removing her from all appointments under my authority.”
On Monday, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch — Missouri’s most influential newspaper, which is hardly known as a bastion of covert #MAGAism — unequivocally called for Chappelle-Nadal’s resignation in a scathing editorial.
“There are times when unequivocal contrition should be enough to clear the air and move on. This, sadly, is not one of those times,” the Post-Dispatch wrote. “Rarely has such a disparate political chorus sung in such complete harmony in Missouri. Yet, Chappelle-Nadal isn’t getting the message. No matter how angry she was at Trump for his lax condemnation of the white supremacists who marched in Charlottesville, Va., on Aug. 12, no clear-thinking public figure would express hopes for his assassination.”
The Post-Dispatch also noted that if she refused to resign, “(t)he likely alternative is expulsion.” And, indeed, Missouri Lt. Gov. Mike Parson has asked the upper chamber of the state legislature to enter special session for just that purpose.
“I do not make this request of you lightly, but you and I know it is the right course of action to take for the people of Missouri,” Parson, a Republican, wrote to the Missouri Senate in a Tuesday letter.
It would require a two-thirds majority in the Senate to expel Chappelle-Nadal, but from the looks of things, that won’t be hard to achieve. And, after all, Chappelle-Nadal has no one to blame but herself. Even her weak-sauce apology (why are public officials forever “owning up to” or “taking full responsibility for” scandals and and mistakes where nobody was assigning ownership or responsibility to anyone else?) shows that she doesn’t understand the full gravity of threatening the nation’s chief executive with assassination.
Chappelle-Nadal has crossed the line — and if the authorities refuse to arrest her for it, the loss of her seat is literally the least that can happen. Whether it comes through resignation or expulsion is ultimately the senator’s choice, but she oughtn’t pretend she has any other options.