Resignation or expulsion.
These were the terms given to state Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-St. Louis, by Lt. Gov. Mike Parson, in reference to her recent comments on Facebook calling for the assassination of the United States president.
"When you ask for the president of the United States to be assassinated, there are no excuses. You can't put a spin on that. You are responsible," Parson said. "And there are consequences."
In Friday's news conference, Parson said he hoped the senator chose to resign from her office as opposed to fellow lawmakers forcing her out, using the state Constitution as their guide.
"Sen. Chappelle-Nadal's troubling remarks — expressing her hope that the president of the United States is assassinated — is a violation of the principles of our state, and it is conduct unbecoming any elected official," Parsons said. "I'm calling on Sen. Chappelle-Nadal to do the right thing and resign from her office. However, if she does not do so by veto session (Sept. 13), I will in my position as president of the Missouri Senate immediately seek the expulsion pursuant to Article 3, Section 18, of the Missouri Constitution."
An excerpt from Article 3, Section 18, says "Each house may punish its members for disorderly conduct; and, with the concurrence of two-thirds of all members elect, may expel a member; but no member shall be expelled a second time for the same cause."
Senate Floor Leader Mike Kehoe said he doesn't think the veto session may be an appropriate time for the motion, but Senate leadership is currently researching the proper procedure to enact the motion and will take up the issue in the chamber as soon as it is appropriate.
At this point, Parsons said he is planning to seek the Senate's help in removing the St. Louis senator, if she does not resign.
On Friday, the Associated Press reported Chappelle-Nadal said she will not resign. Chappelle-Nadal was not available for comment with the News Tribune.
Gov. Eric Greitens released a statement Thursday saying, "If she will not resign, the Senate can vote to remove her. I believe they should."
Senate President Ron Richard, R-Joplin, also called for her to resign or face expulsion.
"We hope Sen. Chappelle-Nadal realizes the seriousness of her statements, takes responsibility for her words and resigns on her own accord," Richard said. "However, we are preparing for options afforded in the Missouri Constitution and the Senate rules if she continues to defy the public outcry and not resign."
The call for a resignation under the threat of an expulsion last occurred in the Senate in 1945 when Sen. Joseph Falzone resigned from his office prior to being expelled.
Falzone resigned from the Missouri Senate in 1945 at a hearing to unseat him on charges he solicited a $1,500 bribe to advance a cosmetology bill, according to an article in the Chillicothe Constitution-Tribune.
"Thank goodness there isn't a lot of precedent for this," Kehoe said. "As elected officials at a time like this, we should be instilling peace and a sense of calmness."
On behalf of the legislative Black Caucus, state Rep. Alan Green, D-Florrisant, also released a statement denouncing Chappelle-Nadal's comment.
"The Missouri Legislative Black Caucus does not condone the derogatory remarks made by Sen. Chappelle-Nadal nor do we condone the recent comments made by President Trump," Green said. "Although we hold both offices in very high respects, their inappropriate behavior and disturbing comments only act as catalyst for more violence and racial division in our country."
Rep. Doug Beck, D-St. Louis, said what Chappelle-Nadal did was not right but believes there's a bigger issue no one has addressed.
"Here's where I have a problem: What she said is inexcusable and completely wrong, but our president of the United States has said a few things and no one's asking for his resignation," Beck said, "especially since our governor has come out and asked for her resignation but hasn't even commented on what the president has said about white nationalists and Nazis."
"This is not about the president's comments. This is about upholding the responsibility of being an elected official in Missouri," he said.