Photos from a fundraising event for a Democratic state senator in Illinois surfaced over the weekend showing a mock assassination of President Trump, prompting apologies and condemnation.
The pictures from a fundraiser for Sen. Martin Sandoval were initially posted on Facebook by a woman who attended the event and shows a man pointing a fake gun at someone wearing a Trump mask and a Mexican costume. Donors paid a minimum of $250 to attend Sandoval’s golf outing in Winfield, Illinois, located just outside of Chicago.
Although he does not appear in the photo of the mock assassination, the 55-year-old Sandoval is seen posing with the man who held the fake gun. It is unclear if Sandoval was aware of the mock assassination.
Sandoval, who is chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, issued an emailed apology.
“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’ Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker condemned the photos Saturday night.
“As our nation grapples with the epidemic of gun violence, purposely pointing a fake gun at anyone is insensitive and wrong,” Pritzker said. “I condemn actions like the ones displayed in the pictures because they lack the civility our politics demands.”
Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider called for the person holding the gun to be fired if they worked as a staffer or volunteer.
“The apology from Sen. Sandoval for the detestable pictures from his event depicting an assassination of President Trump is too little, too late,” Schneider said through a spokesman. “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.”
Top Trump aide Kellyanne Conway took to Twitter Sunday to condemn the photos, writing, “Every Democrat should be asked if they support or disavow this.”
Sandoval has served in the Illinois Senate since 2003.
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