Following swift bipartisan backlash, a Democratic state senator in Illinois apologized over the weekend after photos of two men posing for a mock assassination of President Trump during his fundraiser were posted on Facebook
“The incident that took place is unacceptable,” Illinois Sen. Martin Sandoval, who represents a district that includes the southwest neighborhoods of Chicago, said in a statement, according to local media. “I don’t condone violence toward the President or anyone else. I apologize that something like this happened at my event.”
While Sandoval doesn’t appear in any of the offensive photos — which feature a man wearing a Trump mask and another man pointing a fake gun at the masked man’s head — the prominent state lawmaker is tagged in photos with what appears to be the man who held the fake gun. According to the local WCIA 3, the series of photos were spotted after an unnamed woman uploaded them to Facebook and tagged the senator.
The pictures were reportedly taken at a Sandoval golf outing fundraiser where attendees paid a minimum of $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
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) immediately condemned the photos in a statement to local media, calling them “insensitive and wrong,” and state leadership for the Republican and Democratic parties followed suit.
The Republican chairman, Tim Schneider criticized Sandoval’s apology as “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.”
Sandoval’s office did not immediately return TPM’s request for comment.