Nov 17, 2021 - Politics & Policy

GOP Rep. Gosar censured, booted from committees over violent video

 Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) attends a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing

Rep. Paul Gosar. Photo: Jonathan Ernst-Pool/Getty Images

The House on Wednesday voted to censure Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) and strip him of his committee assignments for posting a video on Twitter that depicts him attacking President Biden and killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).

Why it matters: Gosar is the second House Republican to lose committee seats at the hands of the Democratic majority in the 117th Congress, which has been plagued by violence and inflammatory rhetoric both inside and outside the Capitol.

  • The censure resolution, which passed 223-210, got little cross-party support.
  • Reps. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) and Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) voted with Democrats to pass it and remove Gosar from the House Oversight and Natural Resources committees. Rep. David Joyce (R-Ohio) voted present.

The big picture: Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), who lost her committee seats for similarly incendiary comments, has openly mused about taking similar action against Democrats if her party seizes the House majority.

  • Republicans whipped against the measure, citing Gosar's claims that he did not intend to glorify violence and the fact that members' committee assignments are typically determined by their party conferences.
  • "The dangerous standard, the real slippery slope, would be for Congress to do nothing here," Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said in a floor speech. "We cannot allow the normalization of political violence in America."

Worth noting: Gosar was forced to stand in the well of the House while the resolution was read out loud. "Depictions of violence can foment actual violence and jeopardize the safety of elected officials," it said in part.

  • Ocasio-Cortez rebuked Gosar during an impassioned speech on the House floor before the vote: "What is so hard about saying that this is wrong?"
  • Gosar during his floor speech said he "rejected the false narrative" that the cartoon was "dangerous or threatening." He described the video as "depicting a policy battle" regarding immigration.
  • Gosar was flanked by well over a dozen fellow members of the right-wing Freedom Caucus as Pelosi, presiding over the chamber, read the resolution. "Tyranny," he yelled out before being silenced by Pelosi.
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