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Republican representative censored by US House for violent animated video


The House of Representatives voted to censor Republican Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona for posting an animated video of him killing Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez with a sword, an extraordinary rebuke that highlighted the tensions policies that test Washington and the country.

Calling the video a clear threat to a politician’s life, Democrats argued that Mr Gosar’s conduct would not be tolerated in any other workplace and should not be in Congress.

The vote to censor Mr. Gosar, and also strip him of his committee duties, was approved by a vote of 223-207, almost entirely along party lines.

Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy called the vote an “abuse of power” by Democrats to distract from domestic issues.

He said of censorship that a “new standard will continue to be applied in the future,” a signal of potential ramifications for Democratic members in future congresses.

But Democrats said there was nothing political about it.

“These actions call for a response.

“We cannot let members joke about killing each other,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“It is both an endangerment of our elected officials and an insult to the institution.”

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (Alastair Grant / AP)

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez herself said in a moving speech: “Our work here is important. Our example matters.

“There is meaning in our service.

“And as leaders in this country, when we incite violence with representations against our colleagues, it translates into violence in this country.

“And this is where we have to draw the line.”

Unrepentant, Mr Gosar dismissed what he called the “mistaken characterization” that the cartoon was “dangerous or threatening”. It was not”.

“I don’t espouse violence against anyone. I have never. It was not my aim to anger anyone, ”Gosar said.

He compared himself to Alexander Hamilton, the country’s first Treasury secretary, celebrated in recent years in a Broadway musical, whose vote of no confidence in the House was rejected: “If I have to join Alexander Hamilton, the first no one tried to be censored by this House, so be it, it is done.

The move to censor Gosar, one of the harshest sanctions the House can impose, was only the fourth in nearly 40 years and the latest example of the heightened tensions that have rocked Congress since the 2020 elections and the violent insurrection of the Capitol that followed.

The decision to go ahead with the effort arose out of Democrats’ frustration with House Republicans, who refused to publicly reprimand Mr. Gosar, who has a long history of inflammatory remarks.

Instead, Republican leaders largely ignored his actions and urged their members to vote against the resolution censoring him.

They also warned that this effort was setting a precedent that could come back to haunt Democrats if they find themselves in the minority,

Representative Matt Gaetz from Florida said, “I would just suggest that we have better things to do on the floor of the House of Representatives than being the Twitter monitors for Twitter.”

The resolution will remove Mr. Gosar from two committees: natural resources and the monitoring and reform group, which Ms. Ocasio-Cortez also sits on, limiting his ability to shape legislation and respond to the needs of voters.

He says depictions of violence can foment real violence and endanger the safety of elected officials, citing the Jan.6 attack on the United States Capitol as an example.

Mr. Gosar becomes the 24th member of the House to be censored.

While it has no practical effect other than to provide a historic footnote that marks the career of a politician, it is the most severe punishment the House can impose except the expulsion, which requires a two-thirds vote.

Democratic Representative Charles Rangel, the former chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, was the last to receive the reprimand in 2010 for financial misconduct.

It would also be the second time this year that the House has initiated the removal of a Republican politician from a designated committee, the first being Georgia’s Marjorie Taylor Greene.

Mr. Gosar, a six-term congressman, posted the video over a week ago with a note saying, “Anime fans out there? The approximately 90-second video was an edited version of a Japanese anime clip, interspersed with shots of border patrol agents and migrants on the southern border of the United States.

During a section of about 10 seconds, animated characters whose faces had been replaced by Mr. Gosar, Ms. Greene, and Rep. Lauren Boebert, a Republican, were shown fighting other animated characters.

The character of Mr. Gosar is seen hitting another made to resemble Mrs. Ocasio-Cortez in the neck with a sword.

The video also shows him attacking President Joe Biden.

Ms Ocasio-Cortez, whose receipt of repeated death threats forced her to spend thousands of dollars on security, said Mr Gosar had not apologized to her.

She singled out Mr. McCarthy for failing to convict Mr. Gosar.

“What is so hard to say that is wrong?” Ms. Ocasio-Cortez told the House on Wednesday.

“It’s not about me. It’s not about Representative Gosar. But that’s about what we’re willing to accept.

Paul Gosar (J. Scott Applewhite / AP)
Paul Gosar (J. Scott Applewhite / AP)

Representative Adam Kinzinger was one of the few Republicans who said he would vote to censor Mr. Gosar.

“We must hold accountable those members who incite or glorify violence, who propagate and perpetuate dangerous plots.

“If we don’t, we will be one step closer to the reality of this fantasy violence,” Kinzinger tweeted.

This is not the first brush of controversy for Mr Gosar, who was first elected during the 2010 tea wave.

He has been repeatedly criticized by his own siblings, six of whom appeared in campaign ads supporting his Democratic opponent in 2018.

Earlier this year, Mr Gosar sought to form an America First Caucus with other extremist members of the Republican House that aimed to promote “Anglo-Saxon political traditions” while warning that mass immigration endangered The “unique identity” of the United States.

He has made appearances at right-wing fringe events, including a rally in London in 2018 for a jailed British activist who has repeatedly broadcast anti-Muslim views and a rally in Florida last February hosted by Nick Fuentes, a Internet personality who promoted white supremacist beliefs. .

He also portrayed a woman shot dead by Capitol Police during the Capitol attack as a martyr, claiming that she had been “executed”.

And he falsely suggested that a 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia was organized by “the left” and supported by billionaire George Soros, a major backer of liberal causes who has become the center. anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.