The Democrat-controlled House is expected to vote on Wednesday whether to censure Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) and remove him from his committee assignments after he posted an anime video showing him attacking Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and President Joe Biden.
The move, which was first reported by The Hill by sources who are familiar with the decision, would make Gosar only the 24th member of the House to be censured throughout the country’s history, and the first one in more than 10 years.
“Censure is an extraordinarily rare and dramatic punitive measure that requires the sanctioned lawmaker to stand in the center of the chamber as the resolution is read aloud by the House Speaker,” The Hill noted.
House Democrats led by retiring Rep. Jackie Speier of California introduced the censure resolution on Friday.
Currently, the embattled conservative Arizonan serves on the House Oversight and Reform Committee along with Ocasio-Cortez. If the censure resolution goes through, he would also lose his other seat on the House Natural Resources Committee, where he is the ranking member of an oversight subcommittee.
Republicans have warned that the Democrat-led censure would likely lead to similar actions by their party in the future were they to take control of the chamber in upcoming elections. Democrats countered by arguing that any depiction or endorsement of violence of any kind is unacceptable.
“At some point, it has to stop,” House Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said, according to The Hill.
After a backlash last week, Gosar eventually deleted the video. Initially, he defended it during a closed-door meeting with the House Republican Conference, saying he had not seen it before it was posted online to his Twitter feed.
In addition, the Arizona Republican noted that he does not support violence against political opposites, saying that the video was only meant as a “symbolic” depiction of the ongoing and often bitter debates over the migrant crisis, adding that the New York lawmaker represented “Democrats’ open border amnesty agenda.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) went on to tell reporters following the Tuesday closed-door meeting that “it was not [Gosar’s] intent to ever harm anybody.”
Separately, The Hill reported that at least two Republicans — Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois — could support censuring their colleague.
“It’s a real symbol of his lack of strength, the lack of leadership in our conference right now, and the extent to which he and other leaders seem to have lost their moral compass,” Cheney said, blasting McCarthy, with whom she has had a falling out after she was removed earlier this year as chair of the House Republican Caucus by members.
“In a moment where you’ve got an avowed white nationalist in Rep. Gosar who has posted a video advocating the killing of another member, the idea that our leader will not stand against that but that he’s somehow going after and allowing attacks against 13 members who are conducting themselves in a serious and substantive way is really outrageous,” she said.
Alternately, there were no moves to censure Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), in June 2018 when she suggested to a crowd of supporters during a rally they should confront members of the Trump administration, as well as then-President Donald Trump, whenever and wherever possible.
“History is not going to be kind to this administration. But we want history to record that we stood up, that we pushed back. That we fought, that we did not consider ourselves victims of this president,” she said.
“Let’s make sure we show up wherever we have to show up. And if you see anybody from that cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd. And you push back on them. And you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere,” she added.
Earlier this year, she traveled to Minneapolis on the eve of the jury’s verdict in former police officer Derek Chauvin’s trial for murdering George Floyd, in which she urged people to “get more confrontational” if he was acquitted.
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