WASHINGTON D.C., DC — The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday voted to censure Rep. Paul Gosar of Flagstaff after he tweeted a violent anime video that depicted him killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and attacking President Joe Biden with swords.
The House passed the measure with a vote of 223-207-1. Two Republicans voted yes with all Democrats. Another Republican representative voted present.
A censure by the House is the most extreme form of punishment short of expulsion. A censure passed by the House could also require the censured representative to give up any committee assignments they may hold.
Gosar will now be stripped of his committee assignments on the House Committee on Oversight, where he sat alongside Ocasio-Cortez, and Reform and the House Committee on Natural Resources, a panel that deals with legislation vital to Arizona.
During the history of the House, a vote censuring a member has been rare. Gosar is only the 24th member to be censured and the first in 11 years.
As required by the censure resolution, Gosar sat in the well of the House as the resolution was read. He was wearing a facemask with an image of the American flag.
In his remarks during the House debate, Gosar defended the video and said he only took it down out of compassion for those that were personally offended by it.
"The cartoon directly contributes to the understanding and the discussion of the real life battle resulting from this administration's open border policies," Gosar said Wednesday.
The tweeted video was immediately criticized by Democrats and flagged by Twitter for violating the company’s rules regarding hateful conduct when it was posted on Nov. 7.
During debate, Democrats argued that anyone who made threats against a fellow employee in a normal workplace would be fired. They also said Gosar recently made comments saying he wasn't sorry about posting the video during a call to media.
Republicans in the House argued that censuring Gosar for posting a fictional video is a slippery slope and would set a dangerous precedent.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called the Arizona congressman who tweeted an altered anime video depicting her death “a creepy member I work with who fundraises for Neo-Nazi groups.”
Gosar is a six-term Republican representing the most conservative congressional district in Arizona. In the 2020 election, President Donald Trump won the northwestern Arizona district with almost 70% of the vote.
Gosar is partially known for his fiery, often provocative rhetoric, particularly on Twitter.
He recently came under scrutiny for his role as the headline speaker at the annual gathering of a white nationalist group, the America First Political Action Conference.
Experts on extremism said Gosar, as a sitting congressman, is boosting the group’s credibility in the eyes of supporters.
America First founder Nicholas Fuentes has become a leading white nationalist voice among Republicans with his America First podcast.
Ali Alexander, a far-right provocateur and organizer of the "Stop the Steal" movement, has previously singled out Gosar, as well as fellow Congressman Andy Biggs of Gilbert and Republican State Rep. Mark Finchem of Oro Valley, as people who helped him plan a rally near the Capitol Jan. 6.
Alexander has been subpoenaed by the House committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol.
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