House Democrats Set Up Censure Vote To Punish Gosar Over Anime AOC Video

House Democrats Set Up Censure Vote To Punish Gosar Over Anime AOC Video

Mona Salama
Mona Salama
|
November 16, 2021

The House will vote on two resolutions Wednesday that seeks to punish Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) for tweeting an edited anime-style video last week that depicted him attacking Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and President Joe Biden.

The resolution formally censuring Gosar is the second time the Democratic-controlled House has brought forth unprecedented action against Republicans. Earlier this year, Democrats stripped Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from Georgia from two of her newly assigned committee assignments over her past support for the conspiracy group — QAnon prior to becoming a member of Congress.

According to a source who spoke to the Floridian, the resolution will also yank Gosar off both of his committees, including the House Oversight Committee and the House Natural Resources Committee. Gosar serves on the Oversight panel alongside Ocasio-Cortez.

The tweeted video Gosar shared last week was inspired by the Japanese anime series dubbed "Attack on Titan" created by Hajime Isayama. The popular Japanese cartoon is about humans hiding behind walls to protect themselves from ravaging giants called Titans. In the 92-second video, the title is manipulated to say "Immigrant Attack" in Japanese, and it opens to scenes of migrants attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border.

"Any anime fans out there?" Gosar captioned the 92-second video clip tweet.

In a statement, Gosar said the video was mischaracterized and that he was not advocating for any sort of violence against Biden or fellow members of Congress.

"This video is truly a symbolic portrayal of a fight over immigration policy," Gosar said last week.

While Twitter flagged the video and never removed the content, Gosar would finally remove the post after it drew widespread condemnation from Democrats.

A Twitter spokesperson in a statement defended its move in keeping the tweet, saying, "We have placed a public interest notice on this Tweet as it violates our hateful conduct policy. As is standard with this notice, engagements with the Tweet will be limited. People will be able to Quote Tweet the Tweet, but will not be able to Like, Reply or Retweet it."

Gosar Anime
Screenshot of Gosar's anime video

Ocasio-Cortez responded to the video from Gosar in a series of tweets, claiming her "creepy" colleague who "fundraises for Neo-Nazi groups" wouldn't get reprimanded by House GOP leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) because they "cheer him on with excuses."

The video outraged Democrats, with members forcing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to bring forth the censure resolution as means to "send a message" in punishing the Arizona Republican for tweeting the anime video.

The firebrand progressive told reporters that not only she favors the move to censure Gosar but believes the "most severe consequences" should be "concrete" action taken against the Arizona lawmaker in removing him from his House committees.

"I think threatening the life of a colleague is grounds for expulsion. But given that, the Republican Party is, especially the leader, is too cowardly to really enforce any sort of standard of conduct," Ocasio-Cortez told reporters Tuesday. "I believe that given that reality, censure and committee removal is the next most appropriate step."

House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) revealed to reporters Monday that he called Gosar following the backlash of the tweet that led to the Arizona lawmaker deleting the tweet.

"He took the video down, and he made a statement that he doesn't support violence to anybody," McCarthy said Monday. "I called him when I heard about the video, and he made a statement that he doesn't support violence, and he took the video down."

Republican House leadership is opposed to the Democratic-led move. During a closed-door GOP caucus meeting Tuesday, McCarthy told members to vote against Gosar, noting that Pelosi has never policed  Democratic members regarding their anti-Semitic remarks nor condemned those who encouraged violence towards Trump administration officials.

However, one Republican member, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), is going against McCarthy's wish by siding with the Democrats and plans to vote in support of censuring Gosar and removing his Republican colleague from his committee posts.

"We have to hold members accountable who incite or glorify violence, who spread and perpetuate dangerous conspiracies," Kinzinger tweeted. "The failure to do so will take us one step closer to this fantasized violence becoming real."

It's unclear how many other Republicans besides Kinzinger will also vote to censure Gosar, especially Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), who has been outspoken against colleagues that are strong Trump supporters and part of the Americans First movement within the GOP. When it came to the vote to strip Greene from her committees, 11 Republicans crossed the party aisle in voting with all House Democrats for the move.

Only a half dozen House members have been censured during the last century. Former Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) was the most recent Democrat to be censured back in 2010, but only after a lengthy ethics investigation.

Mona Salama

Mona Salama

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