House Censures GOP Rep. Paul Gosar Over Violent Video
The United States House of Representatives on Wednesday voted to censure Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Arizona) for posting a violent, crudely-edited animated video to Twitter that depicted him murdering Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) with a sword and dropkicking President Joe Biden in the head.
The tally was 223-207, with Republican Reps. Liz Cheney (Wyoming) and Adam Kinzinger (Illinois) joining a unified Democratic caucus to strip Gosar of his seats on the House Oversight and Reform and Natural Resources Committees.
“If Democrats do something as egregious as Mr. Gosar, they ought to be censured about it,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland) said. “This is not a partisan issue. This is an issue about safety.”
The remaining Republicans in the House voted to let Gosar – who alongside former President Donald Trump promoted the January 6 Capitol riot – off the hook.
Cheney referred to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy‘s (R-California) as “indefensible, morally and ethically, and it’s crazy politically.”
McCarthy, meanwhile, accused Democrats of abusing their power.
“It’s an old definition of abuse of power: rules for thee, but not for me. That’s exactly what’s happening here today,” he said. “House Democrats are preparing once again to break another precedent of the United States House of Representatives.”
Gosar has also refused to apologize to Ocasio-Cortez or Biden and has defended the vicious content as merely a joke.
“What is so hard, what is so hard about saying this is wrong? This is not about me. This is not about Rep. Gosar. This is about what we are willing to accept. If you believe that this behavior should not be accepted then vote yes. It’s really that simple,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a speech on Tuesday.
“It’s been well over a week. He not only has not apologized. He not only has not made any sort of contact or outreach, neither he nor the Republican leader (Kevin) McCarthy, but he has also doubled down by saying that I am somehow, you know, representative of undocumented people,” she added.
“I do not espouse violence towards anyone. I never have,” Gosar rebutted. “If I must join Alexander Hamilton, the first person attempted to be censured by this House, so be it. It is done.”
Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Pennsylvania) said on the House floor that “we cannot dismiss Rep. Gosar’s violent fantasies as a joke. He is a public figure and as we vividly saw on Jan. 6, the words and actions of public figures rapidly spark the tinder of radical extremism, and God help us all when that happens.”
Censure is the harshest punishment imposed on lawmakers for egregious misdeeds, second only to expulsion from the body. Gosar will have to stand in the middle of the House chamber as Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) reads the resolution.