Rep. Paul Gosar awaits fate as House to vote on censure

Rep. Paul Gosar.


Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) looked like the loneliest man on Capitol Hill Wednesday as the House of Representatives prepared a vote to censure the lawmaker and remove him from his committee assignments over a tweet that depicted him as an anime character assassinating progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and attacking President Biden. 

As lawmakers headed to the floor to consider the censure resolution, Gosar kept his head down and his thoughts to himself, a stars-and-stripes mask on his face

He walked by reporters without saying a word prior to the vote and was pictured sitting all alone on the Capitol complex’s subway system.

Gosar came under fire after tweeting the 90-second clip showing him going after the high-profile Democrats with a sword just over a week ago, with top Democrats arguing he is inciting violence against members across the aisle, with some alleging it may have been a criminal act.

Gosar and Ocasio-Cortez, both sat on the House Oversight committee. He will also be removed from his role as the ranking member of the Natural Resources Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. 

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called the rare formal rebuke “an emergency” ahead of the vote. 

Top Democrats have argued that Rep. Paul Gosar is inciting violence against fellow lawmakers, with some alleging it may have been a criminal act.
Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA
Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., leaves his office
Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., leaves his office as the House of Representatives prepares to vote on a resolution to formally rebuke him for tweeting an animated video that depicted him striking Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

“[There are] legal matters in terms of threatening a member and threatening the president of the United States,” she told reporters. “We have to address it immediately, and I’m so pleased that our members understand that this is central to our work in Congress that we protect the integrity of the House, of the institution, but also the lives of our members.”

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Following the influx of backlash and a call from Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), the Arizona Republican Gosar has been embroiled in multiple controversies since first taking office, including fundraising with white nationalist Nick Fuentes earlier this year, which were not mentioned in the resolution. 

Gosar previously defended the video in a statement, asserting he does not condone violence and argued it was “a symbolic portrayal of a fight over immigration policy.” 

Still from anime post.
The anime video that Rep. Paul Gosar posted depicts him going after Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez with a sword.

During a closed-door conference meeting on Tuesday morning, he explained anime to his GOP colleagues and argued it could be used to broaden their outreach to voters, according to sources in the room. 

During the House GOP conference meeting, McCarthy called on members to stand behind Gosar, making the case that Republicans are being held to a different standard, with members including Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) having made controversial comments critics argue incite violence without any form of repercussion from within her party. 

The measure — introduced by Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) on Friday — takes aim at GOP leadership in addition to reprimanding the controversial conseravtive, including language stating “the leadership of the Republican Party has failed to condemn Representative Gosar’s threats of violence against the President of the United States and a fellow Member of Congress.” 

Video still from anime post.
Rep. Paul Gosar defended posting the video, arguing that it was “a symbolic portrayal of a fight over immigration policy.” 

Ocasio-Cortez told reporters on Tuesday neither Gosar nor McCarthy has reached out to her since the since-deleted tweet was posted. 

While controversial Rep. GOP Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and former Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) lost committee assignments following controversial remarks, the resolution’s passage marks the first time a House member has been censured since 2010, with just 23 other members having been censured in the history of the House of Representatives. 

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Former Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) was the last House member to be censured over tax evasion on a vacation home and other ethics violations. 


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