JEFFERSON CITY, MO (AP) — A Missouri lawmaker who temporarily posted a Facebook comment expressing hope that President Donald Trump would be assassinated could face an effort to remove her from office.
Gov. Eric Greitens and Lt. Gov. Mike Parson, both Republicans, said on Friday that state senators should oust Democratic Sen. Maria Chapelle-Nadal, who has continued to reject calls for her resignation.
“If she will not resign, the Senate can vote to remove her. I believe they should,” Greitens said in a written statement.
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 Thursday. She later deleted the post.
She made the remark in response to a post that suggested Vice President Mike Pence would try to have Trump removed from office. Chappelle-Nadal, who is black, said she commented out of frustration with the Republican president’s response to the recent white nationalist rally and violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, for which the president said “both sides” shared some blame.
Parson said he will ask senators to remove Chappelle-Nadal from office if she does not resign by the time lawmakers convene Sept. 13 to consider veto overrides. Parson is the presiding officer of the Senate, though he can only vote to break ties and cannot sponsor legislation or make motions for votes.
“She is no longer fit to serve our state,” he said at a Capitol press conference Friday.
The Missouri Constitution says a lawmaker can be expelled upon a two-thirds vote of the elected members of a chamber. But that hasn’t occurred in recent decades, and it’s unclear exactly how it would happen.
Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard and Majority Leader Mike Kehoe, both Republicans, issued statements later Friday saying they hoped Chappelle-Nadal would leave office voluntarily.
But “we are researching the detailed steps involved in the expulsion process and will be prepared to move forward as necessary,” Kehoe said.
Chappelle-Nadal told The Associated Press on Friday that she had met the previous day with the U.S. Secret Service as part of its investigation into her remarks about Trump.
“I let them know that I had no intentions of hurting anyone or trying to get other people to hurt anyone at all,” she said.
She reiterated on Friday that her Facebook post “was totally improper,” but said she will not resign. She said she now believes she is being “targeted” by other officeholders, including the governor, because of political expediency or grudges.
“If the governor doesn’t understand that what went on in Charlottesville is a triggering point for people who have been traumatized because of Ferguson, then he really doesn’t have a close relationship with his residents,” she said
Chappelle-Nadal was a prominent voice during the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, after the August 2014 fatal police shooting of Michael Brown. The black 18-year-old resident was unarmed when he physically struggled with a white officer who shot him. A state grand jury declined to charge the officer, who also was cleared of wrongdoing by the U.S. Justice Department. Chappelle-Nadal has said she was among those hit by tear gas fired by police during the protests.