In-Depth: Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) posted an anime cartoon video to social media on November 7, 2021, which depicted him killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and attacking President Joe Biden. Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) introduced this resolution to censure Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) and remove him from committees, and released the following joint statement with cosponsors:
“For a Member of Congress to post a manipulated video on his social media accounts depicting himself killing Representative Ocasio-Cortez and attacking President Biden is a clear cut case for censure. For that Member to post such a video on his official Instagram accounts and use his official congressional resources in the House of Representatives to further violence against elected officials goes beyond the pale. As the events of January 6th have shown, such vicious and vulgar messaging can and does foment actual violence. Violence against women in politics is a global phenomonenon meant to silence women and discourage them from seeking positions of authority and participating in public life, with women of color disproportionately impacted. Minority Leader McCarthy’s silence is tacit approval and just as dangerous.”
Gosar deleted the video amid the outcry and released a statement which said that he doesn’t espouse violence against other members of Congress or the president, and that the anime was a symbolic cartoon:
“I do not espouse violence or harm towards any Member of Congress or Mr. Biden. The video depicts the fight taking place next week on the House floor and symbolizes the battle for the soul of America when Congress takes up Mr. Biden’s massive $4 trillion spending bill that includes amnesty for millions of illegal aliens already in our country and was not meant to depict any harm or violence against anyone portrayed in the anime. This video is truly a symbolic portrayal of a fight over immigration policy… Our country is suffering from the plague of illegal immigration. The cartoon depicts the symbolic nature of a battle between lawful and unlawful policies and in no way intended to be a targeted attack against Representative Cortez or Mr. Biden. It is a symbolic cartoon. It is not real life. Congressman Gosar cannot fly. The hero of the cartoon goes after the monster, the policy monster of open borders. I will always defend the rule of law, securing our borders, and the America First agenda.”
Of Note: Members of Congress are typically removed from committees by the leaders of their respective party. The most recent example of this occurred in the last Congress, when Republicans removed then-Rep. Steve King (R-IA) from his committee assignments in response to his controversial comments. In February 2021, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) was removed from her committee assignments after Democrats passed a resolution doing so over her past conduct.
If this resolution to censure Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) succeeds, it would be the 24th time that the House of Representatives censured one of its members. The most recent House censure occurred in 2010, when then-Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) was censured for a variety of misconduct, including misuse of congressional letterhead for fundraising; impermissible use of a rent-controlled facility for campaign headquarters; and filing inaccurate financial reports & federal tax returns.
Summary by Eric Revell(Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore via Flickr / Creative Commons)