For His Puerto Rico Response, Missouri State Senator Compares Trump to Hitler
By Jack Suntrup
A state senator from University City caught criticism on Thursday for the second time since August after she posted another controversial social media message regarding President Donald Trump.
In August, Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, a Democrat, said in a Facebook comment that she hoped for Trump's assassination. On Thursday morning, she tweeted a takeoff of a Dove cosmetic ad many called racist.
In the original ad, a black woman is pictured taking off a shirt to reveal a white woman. In Chappelle-Nadal's post, Trump takes off a shirt to reveal Adolf Hitler.
At least two Republican lawmakers shared their displeasure on Twitter.
State Rep. Phil Christofanelli, R-St. Peters, called the post "shameful." State Rep. Jean Evans, R-Manchester, said Chappelle-Nadal was continuing her "disgusting attacks on our president."
Though Chappelle-Nadal quickly deleted the Facebook comment from August, later offering an apology, she offered no apology for the latest post when contacted by the Post-Dispatch.
She criticized the Trump administration's efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, saying the slow recovery would lead to widespread "illness, death and despair."
On Thursday, Trump lashed out at Puerto Rico, insisting in tweets that the federal government can't keep sending help "forever" and suggesting the U.S. territory was to blame for its financial struggles.
Forty-five deaths in Puerto Rico have been blamed on Hurricane Maria, about 85 percent of Puerto Rico residents still lack electricity and the government says it hopes to have electricity restored completely by March.
"Our president has again failed the American people," Chappelle-Nadal said. In a later tweet on Thursday, Chappelle-Nadal said "Puerto Rico deserves to be part of a nation that will not authorize GENOCIDE on its own people."
"I have a First Amendment right to share my opinion, and if a meme is offensive to people, they should look at the First Amendment again," she said. "Then ask yourself why you have different qualifications for a black woman of Puerto Rican descent than other people putting up a meme with no words. It's Twitter."
Chappelle-Nadal said the meme had been circulating among some in St. Louis who are protesting white supremacy and inequities in policing.
"This comes from protesters in the movement," she said. "I fully and wholeheartedly support the peaceful protesters in St. Louis."
She also said it's not the first time she has been critical of Trump on Twitter.
Chappelle-Nadal said she is speaking up for dozens of family members in Puerto Rico, including two great-uncles who are veterans. She said she has been unable to get in contact with her uncles since the hurricane .
Though her Senate colleagues admitted in September they did not have the votes to remove Chappelle-Nadal from office, they did vote to censure her, almost unanimously.
Only two of Chappelle-Nadal's colleagues -- state Sens. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, and Shalonn "Kiki" Curls, D-Kansas City -- did not go along with the plan.
(c)2017 the St. Louis Post-Dispatch