An Illinois state senator has apologised after pictures came to light showing a group of his supporters performing a mock assassination of Donald Trump.
Senator Martin Sandoval was hosting a local fundraising event last week when the pictures – which show someone pointing a fake gun at a person wearing a Trump mask – were taken.
Another photo posted to social media on Friday (August 16) shows Sen. Sandoval smiling for a picture with a man who appeared to be involved in the simulated assassination.
As reported by CBS affiliate WCIA-TV, a woman at the event posted the pictures to her Facebook page and tagged Sandoval in them, causing them to go viral. Sandoval was not pictured in the mock assassination photos.
In those particular photos, the person wearing the Trump mask appears to grab their chest and lean back as though they are imitating being shot by the man with the fake gun. The performance was reportedly acted out in front of guests at Sandoval’s event, MailOnline reports.
In a statement provided to CBS, the senator said:
The incident that took place is unacceptable. I don’t condone violence toward the president or anyone else. I apologise that something like this happened at my event.
The fundraising event, which was held at the Klein Creek Golf Club in west suburban Winfield, set donors back at least $250 to attend.
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
Both Republican and Democrat supporters have shared their thoughts on the controversial pictures, with Democratic Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker slamming those involved in a statement on Saturday.
The governor said:
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.
Members of the Republican party in particular said Sandoval’s apology wasn’t enough, and called on the senator to punish those involved in the mock assassination.
As per the New York Post, Illinois Republican Party chairman Tim Schneider referred to Sandoval’s apology as ‘too little, too late’.
He went on to say:
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.
The president is yet to comment on the incident.
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).