A Democrat Illinois State Senator held a fundraiser on Friday where at least one of his supporters simulated “an assassination attempt” against President Donald Trump.
Mark Maxwell, an anchor at CBS affiliate WCIA3, tweeted photos from the incident, writing, “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.”
Photos from the incident went viral online and sparked widespread condemnation from both Democrats and Republicans.
“As our nation grapples with the epidemic of gun violence, purposely pointing a fake gun at anyone is insensitive and wrong,” Democrat Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who is under criminal investigation, said. “I condemn actions like the ones displayed in the pictures because they lack the civility our politics demands.”
Sandoval released a statement on the incident that transpired at his fundraiser, writing: “I don’t condone violence toward the President or anyone else. I apologize that something like this happened at my event.”
Illinois Republican Party chairman, Tim Schneider, slammed Sandoval’s response, calling it “too little, too late.”
“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. “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.”
Photos of the incident caught the attention of prominent national figures including Senior White House Counsel, Kellyanne Conway, who wrote on Twitter, “Every Democrat should be asked if they support or disavow this.”