The House on Wednesday voted to censure Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) and to remove him from his committee assignments over his Twitter post featured an altered anime video in which he is shown killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and threatening President Joe Biden with swords.
The vote was 223-207, with two Republicans, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) voting with all Democrats in favor of the resolution. Rep. David Joyce (R-OH) voted present.
Gosar then appeared on the House floor as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered the official censure from the dais.
Gosar has taken down the post but did not publicly apologized for it. Instead, on the House floor, he described the post as an attack on Biden administration policies. “There is no threat in the cartoon other than the threat that immigration poises to this country,” he said.
But Pelosi said before the vote, “This is about workplace harassment and violence against women.”
Pelosi said that they “cannot have a member joking about murdering each other or threatening the president of the United States.”
She blasted House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy for not taking action against Gosar.
“The resolution on the floor today is about accountability, it is about integrity in this House,” she said.
McCarthy responded in his own floor speech that Pelosi was “burning down the House on her way out the door.” He accused Pelosi of not sanctioning Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) for remarks she has made.
Ocasio-Cortez, however, noted that McCarthy did not condemn Gosar’s conduct. “A member who leads a political party in the United States of America cannot bring themselves to say that issuing a depiction of murdering a member of Congress is wrong, and instead decides to venture off into a tangent about gas prices and inflation. What is so hard, what is so hard about saying that this is wrong?” She said that what set Gosar’s video apart was that it was a threat of violence against another member.
“When we incite violence with depictions against our colleagues, that trickles down into violence in this country,” she said.
Gosar posted the video last week with the note, “Any anime fans out there?” It linked to the video, which appeared to be an altered version of the anime series Attack on Titan, according to Phoenix New Times. In it, Gosar, as the protagonist, slays a monster that looks like Ocasio-Cortez and then waves swords at a giant image of Biden’s head.
Ocasio-Cortez responded to the video by writing on Twitter, “So while I was en route to Glasgow, a creepy member I work with who fundraises for Neo-Nazi groups shared a fantasy video of him killing me And he’ll face no consequences bc @GOPLeader cheers him on with excuses. Fun Monday! Well, back to work bc institutions don’t protect woc.”
Censure is the second most severe punishment in the House, after expulsion. The last member to be censured was Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) in 2010.
In his remarks, Gosar did blame his staff for posting the video in the first place, and told the chamber, “I do not espouse violence towards anyone. I never have. It was not my purpose to make anyone upset.” But he also noted that Alexander Hamilton was the first person the House attempted to censure. “If I must join Alexander Hamilton…so be it. It is done.”
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