Members of the U.S. Congress voted Wednesday to criticize the Republican rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona for posting an animated video depicting him killing the Democratic rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez with a sword, an extraordinary reprimand that highlighted the political strains that tested Washington and the country. .
When they called the video a clear threat to the life of a lawmaker, Democrats argued that Gosar’s behavior would not be tolerated in any other workplace – and should not be in Congress.
The vote to criticize Gosar and deprive him of his committee duties was approved by a vote of 223-207, almost exclusively along party lines.
SE | Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez argues for condemning Paul Gosar for a violent cartoon posted on his Twitter feed:
Republican minority leader Kevin McCarthy called the vote an “abuse of power” by Democrats to distract from national problems. He said of the distrust that a “new standard will continue to be applied in the future,” a signal of potential consequences for Democratic members in future congresses.
But Democrats said there was nothing political about it.
‘An insult to the institution’
“These actions require an answer. We can not have members to joke about murdering each other,” said Parliament Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “This is both a danger to our elected representatives and an insult to the institution.”
Ocasio-Cortez himself said in an emotional speech: “Our work here means something. Our example means something. There is meaning in our service. And as leaders, in this country, when we encourage violence with portrayals of our colleagues, it ripples. down to violence. here in this country. And that’s where we need to draw the line. “
Undeterred, Gosar dismissed what he called the “mischaracterization” that the cartoon was “dangerous or threatening. It was not.”
“I do not advocate violence against anyone. I have never done that. It was not my intention to upset anyone,” Gosar said.
SE | Paul Gosar defends the Twitter post, which the majority of the US Congress considered to be a ‘clear threat to the life of a legislator’:
Gosar compared himself to Alexander Hamilton, the first US Treasury Secretary, who in recent years was celebrated in a Broadway musical and whose vote of no confidence in Congress was defeated. “If I have to join Alexander Hamilton, the first person to try to be censored by Parliament, then it must be done.”
The decision to criticize Gosar, one of the strongest punishments that Parliament can hand out, was just the fourth in almost 40 years – and just the latest example of the raw tensions that have plagued Congress since the 2020 election and the violent Capitol revolt that followed.
The resolution will remove Gosar from two committees: natural resources and the oversight and reform panel that Ocasio-Cortez also serves on, limiting his ability to shape legislation and deliver for voters. It states that depictions of violence can incite actual violence and endanger the security of elected officials, citing the January 6 attack on the US Capitol as an example.
Gosar becomes the 24th house member to be censored. While having no practical effect other than providing a historical footnote marking a legislator’s career, it is the strongest punishment Parliament can issue short of expulsion, requiring a two-thirds vote.