A Democratic senator issued an apology over the weekend after one of his supporters pointed a fake gun at a man wearing a Donald Trump mask, which many took as a mock assassination attempt on the president. Republicans and Democrats have come together to condemn the distasteful photos with some suggesting it crossed the line.
Illinois Sen. Martin Sandoval issued an apology in an email to WCIA, a local news outlet. “The incident that took place is unacceptable,” the 55-year-old wrote in the email. “I don’t condone violence toward the President or anyone else. I apologize that something like this happened at my event.”
The image was taken Friday evening during a fundraiser at a golf club in the area, which cost attendees $250. The phoyo in question shows a man dressed in a Mexican costume wearing a Trump mask.
A man in front of him is pointing a fake machine gun at the “president’s” face, and the man in the Trump mask clutches his chest as if to signify he’s been shot. Those in attendance stated this “performance” was acted out in front of a large number of guests, the Daily Mail reported.
It’s unclear if Sandoval was aware of the performance or if he was made aware after the fact. One Democrat, Gov. J.B. Pritzker, explained the incident went well over the line.
“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.”
According to NBC News, the chairman of the Illinois Republican Party, Tim Schneider, claimed 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.”
Kellyanne Conway, one of Trump’s closest aides, brought additional attention to the matter on Twitter by giving Democrats an ultimatum: “Every Democrat should be asked if they support or disavow this,” she wrote.
This is just another example of the political divide affecting the country.