• Vote 223-207 by the House to deny Gosar his committee assignments and censure him. The vote was 1 to 1, with 3 abstentions.
  • Rep. Paul Gosar stood firm against the decision to censure his: “I do no espouse violence toward anyone.” Never have I.”
  • Nancy Pelosi, House Speaker of the House, stated during debate that “we cannot have one member laughing about killing each other.”
  • Kevin McCarthy, Minority Leader, called the censure election an “abuse” of power.

WASHINGTON — The House of Representatives censured GOP Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., for posting an anime video that was edited to show him killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and attacking President Joe Biden.

House vote 223-207 to censure Gosar, with one “present” vote and three abstentions. The vote largely fell along party lines, two Republicans alongside all Democrats voting for censure.

This is the most serious action the House can take to punish a lawmaker short of expulsion from Congress. Gosar will lose his assignments to committees but will continue to be a House member. The last time the House voted to censure one of its members was in 2010, against former Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., over ethics violations. This was the 24th censure of a lawmaker by the House in its entire history.

Gosar faced widespread criticism after he posted an edited anime-style video to his social media accounts appearing to show him killing his colleague, Ocasio-Cortez, and attacking Biden. It mimicked the theme song and introduction of “Attack on Titan,” a popular Japanese animation series. Twitter flagged it as violating its guidelines against violence. The video was eventually deleted.

Reaction:Sister and congressional colleagues denounce Rep. Paul Gosar’s video tweet targeting Biden, AOC

Gosar was determined about his censure: “I don’t advocate violence against any person.” He said that he had never done so. He said, “There’s no other threat than that of immigration to our country.

He had released an open letter apologizing to his colleagues but not to Ocasio-Cortez, stating that his staff had released the video and that “nothing hateful” was intended by the imagery.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Tuesday the House would be voting to censure Gosar, “because he made threats, suggestions about harming a member of Congress. That is an insult – not only endangerment of that member of Congress, but an insult to the institution of the House of Representatives.”

Democrats have a larger concern about the increasing call for American right-wing violence that has escalated over the past months, since Jan. 6 Capitol Riot.

Pelosi stated Wednesday that “we cannot have any member laughing about killing each other or threatening to the president of America.” She warned, however, that violence calls against legislators are “a threat to all” as “the example set by this House is one that is viewed throughout the country.”

Two Republicans, Reps. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), voted to censure Gosar. They have been made pariahs within their party because of frequent criticisms about GOP adherence Trump and perceived radicalization.

McCarthy claims ‘abuse of power’; AOC pushes back

The actions of Gosar were not taken seriously by most Republicans, who accuse Democrats of reacting too strongly to their posts.

Kevin McCarthy, R. Calif. House Minority leader, called the censure ballot an “abuse” of power, claiming there is no standard for both sides.

McCarthy stated that “House Democrats broke nearly every standard to silence dissidents in order to pass their radical agenda” during debate. He cited comments made by Reps. Maxine Wassers (D-Calif.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.).Hakeem Jeffreys, D.N.Y.That drew both criticism and support from the other parties.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., arrives at the chamber during debate to censure Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., who tweeted an animated video that depicted him striking Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., with a sword, on Capitol Hill in Washington, on Nov. 17, 2021.

McCarthy claimed that Democrats have now established a precedent in which any lawmaker making inflammatory remarks would need the “vote of the majority” for censure. He promised that “a new standard” will be used.

Ocasio-Cortez pushed back, accusing McCarthy of deflecting from the issue at hand.

“What makes it so hard to say that something is wrong?” She continued, stating that it was all about “what we accept.”

Republicans decry censure 

Kelly Armstrong (R-N.D.) called Gosar’s video “dumb,” “silly” and “mean–spirited”, but denied that it was an “appel to violence.” He said that Democrats were not applying the rules to Congress equally between them.

“This will mark the fourth person in the minority to be stripped of all their duties by the majority. Armstrong said that Armstrong has not seen such a thing.

Armstrong explained that Democrats have “negatively and forever changed the way the body functions for ever.” He warned, however, that “whenever the pendulum swings (and it will), you all will be the ones who suffer the consequences. It will be a disaster for the institution, which is already in pain.

Jim Jordan from Ohio compared it as an attack on First Amendment.

Jordan stated that Jordan was most worried about the “attack on the freedom to speech by the Left this Year” and claimed Democrats were “censuring speech with their censure votes.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., walks to the chamber to condemn the actions of Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., who tweeted an animated video that depicted him striking Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., with a sword, on Capitol Hill in Washington, on Nov. 17, 2021.

Democrats claim responsibility was behind vote

Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., was among the Democrats who noted that Gosar’s video was created by his staff and thus used House resources to depict the murder of one of his colleagues. Deutch stated that the censure vote was needed because Republicans “had not taken responsibility for its members’ caucus.”

Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), who presented the resolution to censure Gosar said that while it was unfortunate, the measure was necessary.

Speier stated, “If a Democrat did it the same way, I would also introduce the same resolution.”

During debate, Jeffries (New York Democrat) urged that “we have an opportunity to choose decency instead of demonization,” to chose civility over cynicism and to choose the rule-of-law over reckless or violent behavior. “We cannot normalize violence at any time in the future.”

Rep. Teresa Legar Fernandez, D-N.M., quoted Scripture in her floor speech arguing for the necessity of censuring Gosar, contending, “the love of thy neighbor is calling on us to pass this resolution.”

Is this what the Republican Party is today? Voting for a bipartisan law will result in your colleagues calling for revenge. If you post a tweet that depicts the killing of a coworker and shows violence against President Donald Trump, it’s okay. Before the vote, Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said, “Come on!”

Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon of D-Pa. stated before the vote that rejecting political violence “should not be apartisan effort.” We must declare that the United States of America does not accept political violence.

Follow Matthew Brown on the internet @mrbrownsir.

Source: USAToday.com


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