A state senator in the Midwest is refusing to resign after hoping for the assassination of U.S. President Donald Trump, despite being roundly criticized by top members of her own party.
On Thursday morning, Missouri State Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal wrote on Facebook, "I hope Trump is assassinated!"
She deleted the comment, but a screenshot of the post quickly went viral on social media, and by the afternoon, leading Missouri Democrats were calling for her to resign.
Missouri Democratic Party Chair Stephen Webber said the party would "absolutely not tolerate calls for the assassination of the president," and asked Chappelle-Nadal to resign.
Missouri Congressman Lacy Clay noted that Chapelle-Nadal "has a long and troubled history of making vulgar, obscene and completely irresponsible statements."
"Calling for the assassination of the president is a federal crime. … She should resign immediately," he said.
U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill called the comments "outrageous" and called on Chappelle-Nadal to resign.
Missouri's Republican governor, Eric Greitens, and lieutenant governor, Mike Parson, similarly called for Chappelle-Nadal's resignation.
But Chappelle-Nadal is remaining defiant in the face of overwhelming criticism. She told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch she made a mistake, though she is refusing calls to resign.
I am not resigning," she told the newspaper. "What I said was wrong, but I am not going to stop talking about what led to that, which is the frustration and anger that many people across America are feeling right now."
She said her call for the president's assassination was a result of her frustration with Trump's response to events Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia, in which a white supremacist allegedly used his car to run over a group of protesters, leaving one woman dead.
In response to the events in Charlottesville, Trump condemned the white supremacists, but insisted repeatedly that "both sides" shared blame in the violence that led up to the car ramming.
Chappelle-Nadal told the Kansas City Star she thinks comments like those made by Trump "make it easier for racists to be racists."
"As long as I have a voice, I'm going to talk about the damage he is creating in this nation," she said.
The U.S. Secret Service, which protects the president, said it is "looking into the comments" made by Chappelle-Nadal, as it does with all threats made against the president.