by Kevin Freaking and Brian Slodisco
WASHINGTON (AP) – The House voted Wednesday to condemn Republican Representative Paul Goser of Arizona for posting an animated video that showed him stabbing Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez with a sword, an extraordinary rebuke. Which exposed Washington and the political tensions of the trial. Country.
Describing the video as a clear threat to a lawmaker’s life, Democrats argued that Gosser’s conduct would not be tolerated in any other workplace – and should not be in Congress.
The vote to condemn Goser and remove him from his House committee assignment was approved almost entirely along party lines by a vote of 223–207, with Reps Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kizinger of Illinois voting in favor. He was the only Republican.
Gosar deleted the tweet a few days ago amid criticism, but he retweeted the video late Wednesday, shortly after the vote.
He showed no emotion as he stood in the Well of the House after the vote, with nearly a dozen Republicans as Speaker Nancy Pelosi read the censure motion and announced his punishment. He shook hands, hugged and patted on the back with other GOP convention members before leaving the room.
Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy called the condemnation an “abuse of power” by Democrats to divert attention from national problems. “A new standard will continue to be implemented in the future,” he said of the condemnation, an indication of the potential impact for Democratic members should Republicans retake the majority.
But the Democrats said there was nothing political in this.
“These actions demand a response. We cannot make fun of members killing each other,” Pelosi said. “It is both a threat to our elected officials and an insult to the institution.”
Ocasio-Cortez himself said in a passionate speech, “When we incite violence against our allies with depictions, it turns out to be violence in this country. And that’s where we should draw the line.”
Without remorse during a tense debate on the floor, Goser dismissed the “wrong character” he called the cartoon “dangerous or threatening”. It wasn’t.”
“I do not support violence towards anyone. I never have. It was not my intention to harass anyone,” Gosar said.
He compared himself to Alexander Hamilton, the nation’s first Treasury Secretary, who in recent years celebrated in a Broadway musical that had lost the censure vote in Congress: “If I must join Alexander Hamilton, the first person to vote in this House.” Tried to condemn by, so be, done.”
The decision to condemn Goser, one of the harshest sentences the House could face, was just the fourth in nearly 40 years—and the latest example of the crude tensions that have rocked Congress since the 2020 election and violent Capitol protests. Rebellion followed. ,
Democrats talked not only about the deadly January 6 uprising, but also violent attacks on both sides, including the 2017 shootings of Republican lawmakers practicing for a congressional baseball game and former Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords in 2011. shooting is included. Met with constituents at an event outside a Tucson grocery store.
Republicans largely dismissed Gosar’s video as a cartoon, a regular form of political expression, and hardly the most important issue before Congress.
Yet the threats against lawmakers are greater than ever, the chief of US Capitol police told the Associated Press in an interview earlier this year.
Goser’s condemnation was born out of democratic desperation. Over the past week, as outrage over the video grew, House GOP leaders refused to publicly reprimand Goser, who has a long history of inflammatory comments. Instead, he largely ignored his actions and urged his members to vote against a motion condemning him.
“I would just suggest that we have better things to do on the floor of the House of Representatives than being the hall monitor for Twitter,” said Florida Representative Matt Getz.
The proposal would remove Goser from two committees: the Natural Resources and Inspection and Reform Panel, on which Ocasio-Cortez also serves, limiting his ability to shape legislation and distribute to constituents. Citing as an example the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, it states that depictions of violence can incite genuine violence and endanger the security of elected officials.
Gosar is a member of the 24th House to be condemned. While this has no practical effect, other than providing a landmark footnote that marked a legislator’s career, it is the strongest punishment the House can issue short of expulsion, which would have required a two-thirds vote. Is.
Democratic Rep. Charles Rangel, former chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, was the last person to be reprimanded in 2010 for financial misconduct.
This year it will also be the second time the House has initiated the removal of a GOP lawmaker from an appointed committee, the first being Marjorie Taylor Green of Georgia.
Gosar, a six-time member of Congress, posted the video a week ago with a note that read, “Any anime fans?” The nearly 90-second video was an altered version of a Japanese anime clip, which included shots of Border Patrol officers and migrants along the southern US border.
During a segment of approximately 10-seconds, animated characters whose faces had been replaced by Goser, Greene and rap Lauren Boebert, R-Colo, were shown fighting with other animated characters. Another striking look like Ocasio-Cortez in the neck with another sword is seen in Goser’s character. The video also shows him attacking President Joe Biden.
Ocasio-Cortez, DN.Y., whose repeated death threats cost her thousands on security, said Goser has not apologized to her. He singled out McCarthy for not condemning Goser.
“What’s so hard to say that’s wrong?” Ocasio-Cortez said. “It’s not about me. It’s not about Representative Goser. But it’s about what we’re willing to accept.”
This is not the first controversy for Gosar, who was first elected in the 2010 Tea Party wave. He was criticized repeatedly by his own siblings, six of whom appeared in campaign ads in 2018 supporting his Democratic rival.
Earlier this year Goser, along with other hardline members of the Republican House, tried to form an America First caucus, aimed at promoting “Anglo-Saxon political traditions”, while warning that mass immigration is “increasingly important to America”. unique identity”. He has appeared at fringe right-wing events, including a gathering in Florida last February, hosted by Nick Fuentes, an internet personality who has promoted white supremacist beliefs.
He has also portrayed a woman who was shot by Capitol police during the attack on the Capitol as a martyr, claiming that she was “executed”. And he falsely suggested that the 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, was instigated by “leftists” and backed by billionaire George Soros, a major funder of the liberal cause, which denounces anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. have become the center.
Associated Press writers Alan Fram and Farnoush Amiri contributed to this report.