State Sen. Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, has joined other state and federal lawmakers in calling for the resignation of State Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-University City.
A message released Tuesday from Senate Democratic Caucus Leader Sen. Gina Walsh stated Chappelle-Nadal was removed from all of her current committee assignments in an effort to ensure the success of the Senate moving forward.
The firestorm surrounding Chappelle-Nadal came after comments she made on her Facebook page wishing President Donald Trump would be assassinated.
The senator formally apologized for the comments, which she said originated from her frustration with Trump’s comments following clashes between white supremacists and African-American protest groups Aug. 12, in Virginia.
But, an apology may not be enough for many of her colleagues, who have vowed to remove her from office if she doesn’t resign voluntarily.
“I think the best thing would be for her to step down on her own,” Schatz said. “I haven’t spoken to any Senate leadership as of yet, or know what they may have planned, but I’m sure there are some options being looked at.”
Schatz added before any formal censure would be taken by his Senate colleagues they would be weighing all options and making sure whatever actions they take are within the rules.
He added if Chappelle-Nadal would remain in the Senate, her credibility is now damaged and questions how effective she could be as a lawmaker.
“This is gross negligence on her part allowing this to occur,” Schatz said. “We all make mistakes and say things we wish we hadn’t, but to put something like this out there is dangerous.”
As one of only nine Democrats in the Senate and one of only three African Americans, Schatz fears any punishment of Chappelle-Nadal could be construed as racial bias of some kind, but Schatz hopes the issue doesn’t devolve to that and focus remains on her inflammatory comments despite their origin.
“I’ve known Maria for the seven years I’ve been here and we’ve worked on things that affect St. Louis County,” Schatz said. “She has been very controversial in the past, but this is going over the line. I couldn’t see any Republican saying something like this about Obama and surviving.”
In addition to her fellow lawmakers, both Gov. Eric Greitens and Lt. Gov. Mike Parson have called for Chappelle-Nadal’s voluntary or involuntary ouster.
At the national level, Sen. Claire McCaskill and Rep. Lacy Clay, both Democrats, have also called for her resignation.