The state senate voted 28-2 to censure State Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal. The only two to vote against the censure were senators Kiki Curls (D-Kansas City) and Jamilah Nasheed (D-St. Louis).
State senators, in Jefferson City for a special legislative session, could not reach the required two-thirds vote to expel Chappelle-Nadal. Censure is the legislative act of publicly reprimanding an official's conduct and expressing disappointment. The resolution also reminded Chappelle-Nadal the senate could return to the matter and expel her at a future date.
Following the censure, Chappelle-Nadal (D-University City) issued the following statement:
“Again, I apologize for the Facebook posting. However, I have made it clear that I will not resign. The voters of my district elected me to represent them. I will work tirelessly for the remainder of my elected term to bring about positive change for my constituents and all Missourians."
On August 17, Chappelle-Nadal’s comments came in a Facebook exchange with a person named Christopher Gagne. Her post was deleted by the morning, but the screengrab had been saved and shared.
In an interview with Fox 2’s Chris Hayes the same day, Chappelle-Nadal said she would not apologize for her remarks. She told our news partners at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that she was frustrated with President Trump’s response to the white supremacist march in Charlottesville and subsequent violence.
Missouri Democrats in state and federal government quickly condemned Chappelle-Nadal’s comments. Congressman William “Lacy” Clay and Senator Claire McCaskill called on Chappelle-Nadal to resign.
At the time, Gov. Eric Greitens said Chappelle-Nadal could face consequences for her statement. He asked her to step down and said the state senate could remove her from office is she refused to leave.
The Secret Service investigated the matter.
Chappelle-Nadal apologized that Sunday, saying she made a mistake.
“President Trump, I apologize to you and your family. I also apologize to all of the people in Missouri. I also apologize to my colleagues in the Missouri legislature for the mistake that I made. I will continue to fight for issues that are really, really important to me,” she said.
Less than a week after the comment was posted, state senate leaders in both parties removed her from positions on nine legislative committees.
Lt. Governor Mike Parson asked for the special session after his office received tens of thousands of emails and phone calls asking for Chappelle-Nadal to resign or be expelled. In a statement to the media, Parson expressed disappointment over the outcome:
"Obviously, we are frustrated with some members of the Missouri Senate’s decision to let Senator Maria Chappelle Nadal retain her seat. Make no mistake; this does not change my position that the Senator’s actions are inexcusable. I totally disagree with these Senators’ poor choice to let her remain in the Senate."