Illinois state senator apologizes for mock Trump assassination at fundraiser

Photos of the mock assassination drew condemnation from the state's Democratic governor and Republican Party chairman.
Image: Sen. Martin Sandoval, D-Cicero, speaks during a news conference at the Illinois state Capitol, in Springfield,
Sen. Martin Sandoval, D-Cicero, speaks during a news conference at the Illinois state Capitol, in Springfield, Ill.Seth Perlman / AP file

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By Allan Smith

A Democratic state senator from Illinois apologized this weekend after a man at one of his fundraisers pointed what appeared to be a fake assault weapon at another person wearing a mask of President Donald Trump.

“The incident that took place is unacceptable,” the lawmaker, Martin Sandoval, told central Illinois CBS affiliate WCIA in an email. “I don’t condone violence toward the President or anyone else. I apologize that something like this happened at my event.”

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Photos of the event were posted online after the Friday night fundraiser, which cost $250 to attend, and were spotted by local media.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat, condemned the mock assassination, as did the state's Democratic and Republican parties.

“As our nation grapples with the epidemic of gun violence, purposely pointing a fake gun at anyone is insensitive and wrong,” Pritzker 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.”

Tim Schneider, chairman of the Illinois Republican Party, said through a spokesman that Sandoval's apology was "too little, too late."

“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," he wrote. "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.”