Illinois state senator: Hey, sorry for that mock Trump assassination at my fundraiser


All Democrats have to do in 2020 is not be crazy. How’s that going? Er … not well, friends, not well at all:

A series of pictures posted online after a Friday night political fundraising event for state Senator Martin Sandoval (D-Chicago) show an event attendee pointing what appears to be a fake assault weapon at another person wearing a Mexican costume and a mask of President Donald Trump.

Donors paid a minimum of $250 to attend Sandoval’s golf outing at the Klein Creek Golf Club in west suburban Winfield. A woman who attended the event posted the photos to her Facebook page on Saturday and tagged Sandoval in them. Sandoval is pictured separately posing with the man who held the fake weapon, but it remains unclear if the Senator knew about the incident when it occurred.

The mock assassination pose drew quick, bipartisan condemnation from Governor J.B. Pritzker, the Illinois Democratic Party, and from the Illinois Republican Party alike.

Rule 1 for all political fundraisers in 2020: No weapons. Rule 2: No cosplay. We can play the “imagine if a Republican did this” game all day long, but how many GOP candidates have costume-party fundraisers like this in the first place? (We’re more into charades. Come at me, fact-checker bros.)

This time, though, the media reaction was significant enough that the candidate — who chairs an important state senate committee — issued an apology. NBC News even avoided the “what’s my party” game, although given the circumstances, they had little choice:

A Democratic state senator from Illinois, Martin Sandoval, apologized this weekend after viral photos showed an incident that happened at one of his fundraisers: a man pointed what appeared to be a fake assault weapon at another person wearing a mask of President Donald Trump.

“The incident that took place is unacceptable,” Sandoval told central Illinois CBS affiliate WCIA in an emailed statement. “I don’t condone violence toward the President or anyone else. I apologize that something like this happened at my event.”

At least this was an actual apology, if somewhat passive-voiced. “Something like this happened at my event” doesn’t tell us much about who did it and why, although Sandoval takes tacit responsibility for it. State GOP chair Tim Schneider replied that Sandoval’s apology isn’t enough:

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“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,” he wrote. “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.”

One has to wonder about the mental acuity of the people who’d do this in the first place, especially at a fundraiser for a politician. Who thought this was a good idea? Especially this week? Sandoval should identify the people behind this incident, if for no other reason than to make sure they don’t contribute more of their deep thoughts to any other candidate in this cycle.

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