The calls for Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal to resign from the Missouri legislature after she posted a Facebook comment saying she hoped the president would be assassinated were immediate and bipartisan.
Democrats including U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill and state party Chairman Stephen Webber joined with Republicans like Gov. Eric Greitens and Lt. Gov. Mike Parson to demand Chappelle-Nadal step down.
Reaction to Republican state Rep. Warren Love’s Facebook post calling for vandals of a Confederate memorial in Springfield to be “hung from a tall tree with a long rope” hasn’t been so unified.
Democrats were quick to once again call for resignation.
But Republican leaders were silent for most of the day after news of the comment became public on Thursday. When they eventually did speak out, most stopped short of calling for Love to step down.
And now Democrats are crying foul, accusing Republicans of “cowardice and hypocrisy.”
“When a black Democratic woman made a reprehensible social media post in support of political violence, condemnation and calls for her resignation was immediate and bipartisan,” said House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty, a Kansas City Democrat. “But when a white Republican man did the same, Greitens, Parson and other Republican leaders suddenly lost their voices. When they finally found them after more than a day of silence, their criticism was muted, with no mention of resignation.”
Love eventually apologized for the Facebook post, saying he never intended to incite violence against anyone. He was using an “old cowboy statement that is a western custom of a penalty for thieves that steal cattle and horses.”
He later told The Star that he made the comment because “I’m a western man. I’ve worn boots and hats all my life. ... I’m apt to say anything in an analogy.”
House Speaker Todd Richardson, a Poplar Bluff Republican, released a statement Thursday afternoon calling Love’s comments “unacceptable” and saying he was “grateful that he has apologized for the extremely poor decision he made to post them. Public servants should not and cannot participate in the kind of speech that could motivate others to do harm.”
Greitens posted a statement on Twitter comparing Chappelle-Nadal and Love’s comments and saying: “Leaders in MO need to do better & I don’t think the Sen or Rep should be representing the people of MO; both should face same consequences.”
Parson, who has called for a special legislative session to expel Chappelle-Nadal, said he agreed with Greitens that Love should “face the consequences,” but added that it is up to the House to make a decision on whether to punish Love.
Both Chappelle-Nadal and Love have refused to resign.
Chappelle-Nadal still faces the possibility of being expelled by the Senate, although the recent news that one of her Republican colleagues won’t vote to kick her out has increased her chances of remaining in the legislature.