A Democratic Illinois state senator apologized after a mock assassination of President Donald Trump was held at one of his fundraisers.
Sen. Martin Sandoval was seen at the fundraiser on Aug. 16, at which pictures showed at least one man pointing a fake gun at another person wearing a mask of the president.
As the man pointed the gun, the person dressed as Trump held two hands to their heart as if fatally wounded.
According to WCIA, which found the pictures on Facebook, a woman who attended the event posted them to the social media platform on Saturday and tagged Sandoval in them and the state senator was in several pictures posing with the man who held the fake gun.
It wasn’t clear whether the senator knew about the mock assassination before it occurred.
A political fundraiser for @SenatorSandoval simulates an assassination attempt against a mock @realDonaldTrump decked out in Mexican garb. Looks like a man pointed a fake assault weapon at the fake President to pose for a picture. pic.twitter.com/MlT9zjB1mn
— Mark Maxwell (@MarkMaxwellTV) August 17, 2019
I am not sure how anyone would think this is funny or okay? With all the problems Illinois has with gun violence, I am thinking this is not okay or cool. Sorry..not sorry.
Posted by Anita Padilla Fox 32 Chicago on Sunday, August 18, 2019
“The incident that took place is unacceptable. I don’t condone violence toward the President or anyone else,” Sandoval said in an emailed statement sent to WCIA and Fox 32. “I apologize that something like this happened at my event,” He did not post the statement to his website or social media pages.
The Illinois Republican Party, the Illinois Democratic Party, and Democratic Illinois Gov. J. B. Pritzker also sent statements to the broadcaster but did not post them on their websites or social media pages.
“As our nation grapples with the epidemic of gun violence, purposely pointing a fake gun at anyone is insensitive and wrong. I condemn actions like the ones displayed in the pictures because they lack the civility our politics demands,” Pritzker stated.
Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider said that Pritzker should fire the person holding the gun if they were part of his team. “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 said.
This is horrible @SecretService talk about inciting violence
— Joan of Arc (@LovelaceMarket) August 18, 2019
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway shared the pictures and said: “Every Democrat should be asked if they support or disavow this.”
Other Twitter users tagged the U.S. Secret Service, urging them to get involved.
The fundraiser was held at the Klein Creek Golf Club. Some people paid thousands of dollars to attend.
The Cook County Republican Party called on Sandoval to resign.
“Democrats, especially here in Illinois, never miss an opportunity to castigate President Trump and republicans with over the top claims that they promote violence and are violent fascists,” the group said in a statement. “But, here we have a leading Democrat state senator actually making a decision to hold a mock assassination of the President for entertainment value and then photographing it for public viewing. The hypocrisy on display here by democrats stinks to high heaven.”
Sandoval, 52, has been in office since 2003.
He has railed against the Republican president over border and immigration reforms.
Sandoval said in a statement in June after Trump said some actions in various cities would target criminal illegal immigrants, “Clearly, President Trump hasn’t bothered to learn the history of our country long enough to know that immigration raids will do nothing to help his cause.”
“This racist, inflammatory rhetoric feeds to an irrational fear of immigrants and forces people looking to provide for their families to go into hiding,” he said.
He was also one of those that celebrated when a question about citizenship was prevented from being reinstated on the U.S. Census.