Lt. Gov. Mike Parson has given Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal (D-University City) an ultimatum: Resign by the date of the upcoming veto session (Sept. 13) or face expulsion from the Missouri Senate.
Parson held a press conference this afternoon at the Capitol and later at the Greene Co. Sheriff’s Office, where he told reporters, “We had a sitting senator in the state of Missouri that asked for the president of the United States to be executed, to be assassinated, and it doesn’t matter what the last name of the president is, whether it be Trump, Obama, Clinton, Bush. The office of the presidency of the United States is much larger than anybody’s last name.”
Parson referred to Article 3 of the Missouri Constitution as grounds to allow the Senate to vote for her removal, which, given the current supermajority in the Republican-controlled body, is a real possibility.
“Her attempts to deflect criticism and avoid the blame are unacceptable,” Parson said. “She may have been angry when she wrote those words, but anger is not a valid excuse. The comments she made are indefensible.”
“It is my hope that she will heed to the calls to resign, rather than force her fellow lawmakers to make the decision for her,” he said.
Chappelle-Nadal’s Facebook post Thursday, saying she hoped President Trump is assassinated, is what sparked the backlash from both sides of the aisle.
Expulsion would be a first in Missouri history, and attorneys in Jefferson City are currently researching the situation to see how her seat would be filled and other technical aspects, Senate Communications tells the Clayton Times.
Expulsion proceedings have been held at the Missouri Capitol before though. Proceedings were initiated against state Sen. Joseph Falzone, a St. Louis Republican, in 1945 on charges of bribery. His trial before the Senate began on Oct. 29, 1945. Falzone resigned on Nov. 1, 1945, while the trial was underway, rendering the matter moot.
The House voted on a motion to expel state Rep. Pat Hickey, a north St. Louis County Democrat, in the early 1970s, for allegedly not living in his district. It failed with only the motion maker voting to expel, the House tells us.
The Secret Service is reported to be investigating whether her comments on social media are criminal acts.
Chappelle-Nadal has admitted it was a mistake to post the comment, but said it was borne from her frustration following the violent events that unfolded in Charlottesville, Va., where a woman was killed and several were injured at a rally staged by white nationalists.
Ironically, only four Missouri elected officials have been expelled from office, and all four instances were because they were Confederate sympathizers.
U.S. Sens. Trusten Polk and Waldo Johnson, both Democrats, were expelled for supporting the Confederate rebellion in 1862. Democratic Congressmen John B. Clark and John W. Reid were also expelled for “disloyalty to the Union” and “taking up arms against the United States”.
Polk served as the 12th Governor of Missouri in 1857 and U.S. Senator from 1857 to 1862. Johnson, after being expelled from the U.S. Senate, fought with the Confederate Army during the Civil War as a lieutenant colonel of the Fourth Missouri Infantry. He was also appointed to the Senate of the Confederate States.
Clark also served in the Confederate Congress and as a brigadier general in the Missouri State Guard. Eight days before he was expelled from the U.S. Congress, he fought in the Battle of Carthage. After being released from confinement at Fort Jackson, he practiced law in Fayette, Mo., until his death.
Reid, a Lynchburg, Va., transplant to Missouri, was a Jefferson City lawyer prior to serving as a captain in the Mexican War. He later served in Congress until his removal, and then served with the Confederate Army as an aide to General Price.