Disturbing pictures that appeared online following a political fundraising event in Illinois on Friday, have landed a powerful Democratic state lawmaker in bipartisan hot water.
The photos show an attendee of state Senator Martin Sandoval’s (D-Chicago) campaign event pointing a fake gun at another person wearing a Mexican costume and a mask of President Donald Trump, to mimic an assassination, WCIA reported.
— Mark Maxwell (@MarkMaxwellTV) August 19, 2019
The governor of Illinois, as well as the state’s Democrat Party and Republican Parties have all condemned the photos.
“As our nation grapples with the epidemic of gun violence, purposely pointing a fake gun at anyone is insensitive and wrong,” Governor J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat, said Saturday night. “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 spokesperson for the Democratic Party of Illinois, said. “These images are unacceptable and dangerous. The place to make our voices heard against Trump is at the ballot box.”
Donors paid a minimum of $250 to attend Sandoval’s golf outing at the Klein Creek Golf Club in west suburban Winfield. A woman who attended the event posted the photos to her Facebook page on Saturday and tagged Sandoval in them. Sandoval is pictured separately posing with the man who held the fake weapon, but it remains unclear if the Senator knew about the incident when it occurred.
After the Sandoval issued an apology in an emailed statement to the media.
“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.”
Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider said the apology was not enough and that the individuals in the photo should be fired if they were a staffers or volunteers.
“The apology from Sen. Sandoval for the detestable pictures from his event depicting an assassination of President Trump is too little, too late,” the ILGOP chairman said in a statement. “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. If the individual pictured is a staffer or volunteer, they should be terminated immediately.”
But unlike “Tuffy the clown” a few years back, these culprits will probably not feel any heat for their actions.
Here’s your reminder that a rodeo clown was run out of the industry for wearing an Obama mask. https://t.co/hWZJ0Sml3Q
— Jesse Kelly (@JesseKellyDC) August 19, 2019
In a tweet Sunday night, counselor to the president Kelleyanne Conway said that other Democrats should be asked if they support or disavow the images. This was to point out that members of the media always ask Republicans to disavow similarly foolish behavior from folks on the far-right in an attempt to tie the entire party to the extremism.