A US state senator is being investigated by the Secret Service for saying she hopes President Donald Trump will be assassinated.
Maria Chappelle-Nadal, a Democrat state senator from Missouri, made the remarks on her personal Facebook page but then later deleted them.
The politician said “I hope Trump is assassinated!” in response to a post suggesting Vice President Mike Pence would try to oust Mr Trump from the Oval Office.
The Secret Service said they are “looking into the comments” and say “all threats against the President” will be subject to investigation.
Ms Chappelle-Nadal, who gained prominence for criticising the Ferguson police shooting of Michael Brown in 2014, has since deleted the comment and apologised.
But the politician, who has been an outspoken activist while in the Legislature, has been insistent she will not be stepping down over the furore and said her comment was borne out of frustration with the current political landscape.
She also said she was frustrated with the president’s response to the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville.
“I am not resigning. When people of colour are respected by this White House and they are willing to do real work, I’ll sit down with them. People are traumatized!” she said on Twitter.
She told the St Louis Post-Dispatch: “I didn’t mean what I put up. Absolutely not. I have deleted it, and it should have been deleted.
“I am not resigning. What I said was wrong, but I am not going to stop talking about what led to that, which is the frustration and anger that many people across America are feeling right now.”
The comments about assassination have drawn swift condemnation from Republicans and fellow democrats and some have called for her to step down,
Stephen Webber, the chairman of the Missouri Democratic Party, said the remarks were “indefensible” and the party “will absolutely not tolerate calls for the assassination of the president.”
Democrat Senator Claire McCaskill said: “I condemn it. It’s outrageous and she should resign.”
Ms Chappelle-Nadal, who has been subject to frequent vitriolic abuse from Trump supporters online, became a leading critic during the protests in Ferguson, Missouri after the police killing of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old black resident who was unarmed when fatally shot by an officer in 2014.
The politician, who is from the St. Louis suburb of University City, took part in protests against the fatal shooting and was among the protesters who were tear-gassed by law enforcement officials.
She argued institutional inequality was a critical issue which lay behind the civil unrest in Ferguson and had contributed to heightened tensions between police and the community, saying: “I have to tell you that there has been systematic racism, institutionally in state government for decades, including my own state party,” she said. “People are angry, and they are hurt, and they’re trying to figure out: how are they going to receive justice?”
Johnny Depp was also recently forced to apologise for joking about assassinating President Trump, saying his remarks were in “poor taste.”
Speaking during an appearance at Glastonbury music festival, the Pirates of the Caribbean actor publicly pondered how long it had been since an actor had killed a US president.
“I apologise for the bad joke I attempted last night in poor taste about President Trump,” Depp said in a statement.
“It did not come out as intended, and I intended no malice. I was only trying to amuse, not to harm anyone.”