US senator Martin Sandoval apologises after photos show mock Trump assassination at fundraising event

Martin Sandoval.
Martin Sandoval. Photo credit: AAP

A senator in the US has apologised after photos surfaced showing a mock assassination of Donald Trump at one of his fundraising events.

The images were taken at a Chicago golf club during a political event hosted by Illinois State Senator Martin Sandoval on Friday night (local time), according to WCIA news. They show a man pointing a fake assault weapon at a person wearing a Donald Trump mask. 

The photos were originally posted to Facebook by a woman who tagged the senator. Other photos she posted showed Sandoval standing with the man shown holding the gun, though it was not clear if Sandoval was present when the incident took place, according to WCIA.

The photos have been condemned by both Republicans and Democrats, with Illinois Governor JB Pritzker, a Democrat, calling the photos "insensitive".

"As our nation grapples with the epidemic of gun violence, purposely pointing a fake gun at anyone is insensitive and wrong," he said.

"I condemn actions like the ones displayed in the pictures because they lack the civility our politics demands."

Sandoval has since apologised for the images.

"The incident that took place is unacceptable," he said in a statement to WCIA. "I don’t condone violence toward the President or anyone else."

According to the Chicago Tribune, the "gun" in the pictures was a novelty beverage dispenser. 

"This offensive use of a beverage dispenser was in no way part of any scheduled program,"  the paper reported Sandoval as saying. "I had no knowledge of it and neither did my staff. I want to again express my deepest regret that this unfortunate incident took place at (an) event in my name."

Kellyanne Conway, one of Trump's top aides, also weighed in on the subject, saying "every Democrat should be asked if they support or disavow the images".

Sandoval has served in the Senate since 2003.


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