Members of Congress voted Wednesday to censure Arizona Republican Paul Gosar for posting an animated video of him killing Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez with a sword, an unusual rebuke that has highlighted the political tensions testing Washington and the country. .
Describing the video as a clear threat to the lawmaker’s life, Democrats said Gosar’s behavior would not be tolerated in any other workplace — nor should it be in Congress.
The vote to censure Gosar and strip him of his committee duties was approved by 223 votes to 207, roughly along party lines.
Watch | Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez discusses Paul Gosar’s conviction for a violent cartoon posted on his Twitter account:
Republican minority leader Kevin McCarthy called the vote an “abuse of power” by Democrats to divert attention from national problems. He said of the censure that “a new standard will continue into the future,” referring to potential ramifications for Democratic members at future conventions.
But Democrats said there was nothing political about that.
‘An insult to the institution’
“These actions require a response,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. “We can’t have members joking about killing each other.” “This endangers our elected officials and insults the establishment at the same time.”
Ocasio-Cortez herself said in an emotional speech, “Our work here is important. Our example is important. There is meaning in our service. And as leaders, in this country, when we incite violence with representations against our colleagues, that turns into violence in this country. And that is where we must draw It’s the line.”
Unrepentant, Gosar rejected what he called the “mischaracterization” that the caricatures were “dangerous or threatening. They weren’t.”
“I don’t espouse violence towards anyone,” Gosar said.
Watch | Paul Gosar defended a Twitter post that a majority of US Congress members deemed a “clear threat to the lawmaker’s life”:
Gossar compared himself to Alexander Hamilton, the first Secretary of the Treasury of the United States, celebrated in recent years in a Broadway musical, who was defeated by a vote of censure in Congress. “If I have to join Alexander Hamilton, the first person to try to be censured by this council, so be it, it’s over.”
The decision to censure Gosar, one of the strongest sanctions the House of Representatives could impose, was only the fourth in nearly 40 years — and the last example of the initial tensions that have gripped Congress since the 2020 election and the violent Capitol uprising that followed. .
The decision would remove Gosar from two committees: the Natural Resources and Oversight and Reform Committee, which Ocasio-Cortez also serves, limiting his ability to draft legislation and present it to voters. It states that depictions of violence can provoke actual violence and threaten the safety of elected officials, citing the January 6 attack on the United States Capitol as an example.
Gosar became the 24th member of the House of Representatives to be monitored. Although it has no practical effect except to provide a historical footnote referring to the lawmaker’s profession, it is the strongest penalty that the House of Representatives can pass without expulsion, which requires a two-thirds vote.