Republican Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona is facing censuring and removal from the Overside Committee after he posted a video that depicted himself killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and attacking President Joe Biden.
The video was posted on Gosar’s official Twitter and Instagram accounts on Nov. 7. It was flagged by Twitter shortly after it was posted and was later deleted. The video was an edit of the anime show “Attack on Titan.”
When a member of Congress is censured, they must stand in the center of the chamber of the House of Representatives as the resolution condemning their conduct is read out loud. Unlike expulsion, it does not remove them from office.
A member of Congress can be censured through a simple majority vote. Censuring carries no legal consequences.
David Schweikert, another Arizona Republican, was the last person in Congress to be formally reprimanded. He was reprimanded by the House in 2020 for campaign finance violations. A formal reprimanding is a less severe response compared to censuring.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) was removed from her committee assignments earlier this year for similar violent rhetoric toward Democrats.
The House voted to remove Greene from committee assignments through a simple majority vote.
Gosar currently sits on two committees and four subcommittees in Congress. The six-term congressman released a statement two days after the post claiming that he does “not espouse violence or harm towards any Member of Congress or Mr. Biden.”
Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming also called for Gosar to be censured and referred to him as a white nationalist. Gosar previously had a fundraiser scheduled with Nick Fuentes, a far-right and white nationalist political commentator.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called for an ethics and law enforcement investigation into Gosar for his post. She also called on House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to condemn the video. McCarthy told CNN he called Gosar last week after he posted the video.
In response to the call for censure, Gosar compared himself to the French magazine Charlie Hebdo. In 2015, two men entered the magazine’s office and killed 12 people after it published a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad.
“For this cartoon, some in Congress suggest I should be punished in some fashion,” Gosar wrote. “While the degree of punishment differs, this is the same sentiment expressed against the Charlie Hebdo magazine in France in 2015 that was punished for publishing a cartoon.”
“And now here, in the United States, six years later, the motive by some of my colleagues in Congress is the same: to shut down media that lampoons those who support the dangerous open border policies of the Biden administration.”
Democrats and Republicans who have spoken out against Gosar’s video did not mention immigration. Instead, the criticism and condemnation have been pointed at the depiction of violence toward a sitting member of Congress.
Gosar is running for re-election in 2022 in Arizona’s fourth congressional district. Gosar was one of 139 US representatives who voted to overturn the 2020 presidential election. He also supported the Arizona Senate’s “audit” of Maricopa County’s votes in 2020.
Gosar was allegedly involved in meetings and planning of the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol in Washington D.C. He defended the rioters and said any attempt to prosecute them was a conspiracy against supporters of former President Donald Trump.