A Democratic state senator in Illinois apologized after confirming that photographs of an “assassination” of a person dressed up like President Donald Trump were taken at a fundraising event.
“The incident that took place is unacceptable,” state Sen. Martin Sandoval said in a statement to news station WCIA-TV. “I don’t condone violence toward the President or anyone else. I apologize that something like this happened at my event.”
Photographs of an unidentified person pointing what was described as a “liquor beverage dispenser” as if it were a gun at a second person wearing a Trump mask with “Mexican” clothing were posted online shortly after the August 16 2019 event at a golf course in Windfield, an incorporated village community.
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
“I had absolutely no knowledge that this regrettable exchange between one of my 1,200 guests and a third-party vendor even took place,” Sandoval told the Chicago Sun-Times. “Those individuals involved exhibited extremely poor judgement.”
At least one of the people in the photographs reportedly worked for the vendor, identified as Party District Entertainment. Sandoval’s campaign has reportedly hired the company for various events beginning in 2017.
Besides partisan rebukes from state Republicans, the photographs also drew criticism against Sandoval from his own party.
“The tragedies in El Paso and Gilroy have demonstrated how hate-filled political rhetoric can fuel violence,” Illinois Democratic Party spokesperson Maura Possley said. “These images are unacceptable and dangerous. The place to make our voices heard against Trump is at the ballot box.”