Congressman Paul Gosar remains in hot water after tweeting an anime video that depicted the brutal slaying of a monster which bore the likeness of a fellow member of Congress, Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
In the same video, Mr Gosar was seen threatening another beast bearing the face of President Joe Biden with a sword.
The Arizona Republican has insisted the videos were jokes aimed at reaching a younger audience, and that he did not mean to glorify or threaten violence against his political opponents. But his statements haven’t satisfied Democrats including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, not to mention Ms Ocasio-Cortez herself.
On Tuesday, Ms Pelosi made it clear that she would seek consequences as the House leader against Mr Gosar for his conduct, including his potential removal from the House Oversight Committee. Ms Ocasio-Cortez is a member of the same panel.
“[H]e made threats, suggestions about harming a member of Congress,” said Ms Pelosi to reporters. “That is an insult…not only an endangerment of that member of Congress, but an insult to the institution of the House of Representatives. We cannot have members joking about murdering each other as well as threatening the president of the United States.”
GOP lawmakers hit Democrats on unrelated issues
Republicans who stood in opposition to Mr Gosar’s censure on Wednesday brought up a whole host of unrelated issues they characterised as abuses of power by Democrats, while mostly avoiding the issue of whether the video he posted threatened or encouraged violence against a member of Congress.
Rep Jim Baird of Indiana, one of many Republicans who signed on to former President Donald Trump’s attempts to falsely allege election fraud and cling to power after the 2020 election, called Wednesday’s vote an example of “hypocrisy”.
Rep Chip Roy of Texas likened the video to “heated debate” on political issues, and blasted the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate.
“Let me be clear, I would not have posted that video,” he said, while calling it “an effort to make a point”.
Mr McCarthy also joined in, taking time during his floor speech to complain about the ongoing situation at the US-Mexico border.
John Bowden17 November 2021 20:50
Censure vote is latest opportunity for anti-Trump GOP to buck party
Two members of the House GOP caucus who have most prominently broke with former President Donald Trump, and both supported his impeachment, are using Wednesday’s vote as an opportunity to hammer Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s leadership.
Rep Liz Cheney, who vice chairs the House select committee investigating the 6 January riot, said of Mr McCarthy: “Our party needs a leader who is going to stand up for what’s right and stand up for the truth, and stop trying to play these games.”
Rep Adam Kinzinger, in his own tweet this week, added: “We have to hold Members accountable who incite or glorify violence, who spread and perpetuate dangerous conspiracies. The failure to do so will take us one step closer to this fantasized violence becoming real.”
Others, like Rep Peter Meijer, appeared ready to side with their caucus on the issue.
John Bowden17 November 2021 20:35
Majority leader Hoyer rebukes McCarthy, Republicans
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer rebuked the assertions made by Republicans, including Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, claiming that Democrats were seeking to control committee assignments of the minority party.
He pointed out that Republicans could not draw another example of a member appearing to portray or threaten the murder of another member of Congress, as there was no such real-life example to choose from.
“There is no analogous event to this one. In the 40-plus years I have served here, there has never been a case like this. Never,” said the majority leader.
“This is not about control, as [Mr McCarthy] said. This is about security, and decency, and the rule of law,” Mr Hoyer continued
John Bowden17 November 2021 20:15
Gosar takes the floor at censure hearing
Mr Gosar spoke briefly on Wednesday, offering no real defence and claiming only that he would continue fighting against Democratic immigration policies, which he has bizarrely insisted was the focal point of the video.
“I do not espouse violence towards anybody,” he said during his remarks. “There is no threat in the cartoon.”
“If I must join Alexander Hamilton, the first person attempted to be censured by this House, so be it. It is done,” he continued.
John Bowden17 November 2021 19:59
Ethics chair: ‘Clear and present’ need to remove Gosar from committees
The chairman of the House Ethics Committee urged the House to go ahead with the resolution to condemn, censure and remove Rep Paul Gosar from his committees and not wait for Republicans to show remorse.
Rep Ted Deutch joined many in condemning House GOP leadership for not putting out a statement clearly condemning the message of Mr Gosar’s video.
“When a fellow member of Congress has been threatened with violence. the House cannot wait indefinitely for Republican leadership to find its collective conscience and condemn the threat,” Mr Deutch said in a floor speech.
“Nothing in our rules requires the House to wait. Nor should the House wait in this instance.. when there is clear and present need to remove Representative Gosar from a committee on which Representative Ocasio-Cortez herself serves,” he continued.
John Bowden17 November 2021 19:55
AOC excoriates Gosar, McCarthy in floor speech
After GOP leader Kevin McCarthy defended Mr Gosar in a floor speech by claiming that Democrats were pursuing retribution against their political enemies, Ms Ocasio-Cortez took the floor and demanded to know whether he and others thought the video Mr Gosar posted was acceptable.
“Does anybody in this chamber find this behavior acceptable? Would you allow that in your home?” Ms Ocasio-Cortez asked.
To Mr McCarthy, she asked: “What is so hard about saying that this is wrong?”
“What I believe is unprecedented, is for a member of House leadership of either party to be unable to condemn an incitement of violence against a member of this body,” she said.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: “It is a sad day in which a member who leads a political party…cannot bring themselves to say that issuing a depiction of murdering a member of Congress is wrong.”
— ABC News (@ABC) November 17, 2021
John Bowden17 November 2021 19:43
Vox editor resurfaces Gosar tweet celebrating Hillary Clinton almost being injured
As the censure resolution was debated on the House floor on Wednesday, a Vox.com associate editor resurfaced an old tweet from Mr Gosar appearing to celebrate an instance in which Hillary Clinton was almost seriously injured by a falling light during an interview.
The 2019 tweet was captioned “Remember the reason for the season”, and was posted on Christmas Eve. A Christmas tree is seen in the background of the interview shot, which occurred years earlier when the Clintons were in the White House.
In the video, Ms Clinton is pulled away by her husband as a large set light comes crashing down on the back of the couch on which she was sitting.
John Bowden17 November 2021 19:40
Pelosi: Gosar video was ‘extremely disturbing’
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared that Mr Gosar’s conduct was “extremely disturbing” on Wednesday.
The Democratic leader added in her floor speech: “We cannot have members joking about murdering each other.”
“When a member uses his or her national platform to encourage violence, tragically, people listen to them,” she said.
Ms Pelosi went on to insinuate that Mr Gosar was encouraging the same kind of violence against members that rioters sought during the 6 January siege of the Capitol.
“The member has never apologised for his actions. ‘It’s a cartoon, relax,’ he said. Really? A cartoon?” Ms Pelosi questioned, referring to the video’s content as “death threats” against President Joe Biden and Ms Ocasio-Cortez.
John Bowden17 November 2021 19:20
Republicans mount defense: Vote is ‘dangerous precedent’
GOP leaders and their members of its conservative far-right wing took different strategies for their defences of Mr Gosar on Wednesday.
Two members spoke in opposition to the vote on Wednesday before it began: Reps Tom Cole, an ally of leadership, and Matt Gaetz, an ally of former President Donald Trump and the House’s extreme right.
Mr Cole focused on Mr Gosar’s admission that the video’s creation was a “mistake” and the fact that the congressman had deleted the post after Mr McCarthy spoke to him, echoing Mr McCarthy’s own comments.
The removal of Mr Gosar from his committees would set a “dangerous precedent” of allowing the majority sole veto power over minority committee memberships, he warned, insinuating that Republicans would seek to punish Democrats with whom they disagreed while claiming that the standard for committee removal had shifted.
Mr Gaetz took a different approach, claiming that the video could not have encouraged or threatened violence because it was animated.
“I am no expert on Japanese Anime but I am told, and I do believe, it is not real,” Mr Gaetz said during his own floor speech.
John Bowden17 November 2021 18:41
Vote begins on Gosar censure, committee removal
Around 1:10 p.m. on Wednesday, Eastern time, the House began voting to end debate on a resolution to censure Mr Gosar and strip him of committee membership, which would oust him from the House’s powerful Oversight panel.
The parties are expected to voted largely with their respective leadership, but some notable defections particularly among the GOP could occur. This vote’s results is expected to mirror the final results of the censure vote, which will take place afterwards.
Rep Adam Kinzinger, an Illinois Republican, tweeted on Tuesday that he would be among the “yes” votes for the resolution.
We have to hold Members accountable who incite or glorify violence, who spread and perpetuate dangerous conspiracies. The failure to do so will take us one step closer to this fantasized violence becoming real.⁰⁰To be clear, I’ll be voting yes on the Gosar censure resolution.
— Adam Kinzinger (@RepKinzinger) November 16, 2021
John Bowden17 November 2021 18:14