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House to vote to censure Gosar, remove him from committees over violent anime video depicting Ocasio-Cortez’s killing

Rep. Paul A. Gosar (R-Ariz.) leaves a Republican caucus meeting on Capitol Hill on Nov. 16 in Washington. (Elizabeth Frantz/Reuters)

The House will vote Wednesday on a resolution that both censures Rep. Paul A. Gosar (R-Ariz.) and removes him from his committee assignments, more than one week after Gosar tweeted an altered anime video that depicted him killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and swinging two swords at President Biden.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Tuesday that Democrats’ plans to discipline Gosar and remove him from his committees was appropriate because Gosar had made threats about harming a member of Congress.

“That is an … endangerment of that member of Congress, but [also] an insult to the institution of the House of Representatives,” Pelosi said. “We cannot have members joking about murdering each other as well as threatening the president of the United States.”

House Democrats had originally planned to only remove him from the Oversight and Reform Committee, where he serves with Ocasio-Cortez, and allow him to keep his seat on the House Committee on Natural Resources. But later in the day language was added to the resolution to boot him off that committee as well at the request of panel Chairman Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), according to a senior Democratic aide who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the chamber’s plans.

Twitter originally placed a “public interest notice” on Gosar’s tweet, saying that it had violated its policy against hateful conduct. Gosar has since deleted the tweet. The White House condemned Gosar’s video last week, and Pelosi (D-Calif.) called for investigations by the House Ethics Committee and law enforcement.

White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Nov. 9 condemned the posting of an animated video by Rep. Paul A. Gosar (R-Ariz.). (Video: Reuters)

On Tuesday, Ocasio-Cortez told reporters that “in a perfect world” Gosar would be expelled. She also cast doubt on Gosar’s defense of the video, in which he said it was “a symbolic portrayal of a fight over immigration policy” and did not “espouse violence or harm towards any Member of Congress or Mr. Biden.”

“If he was telling the truth, he would have apologized by now. It’s been well over a week,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “He not only has not apologized, he not only has not made any sort of contact or outreach — neither he nor the Republican leader of the party — but he has also doubled down.”

Late Tuesday afternoon, Gosar shared an article on Twitter from a right-wing outlet that mocked efforts to discipline him over the video, which it called “funny and completely harmless.”

At least two Republicans, including Reps. Liz Cheney (Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (Ill.), have stated they would support censuring Gosar. Most GOP lawmakers, however, have remained silent. In February, the House voted to strip Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) of her committee assignments for past extremist and racist remarks. The vote was 230 to 199, with 11 Republicans joining Democrats to remove Greene from the committees at the time.

A group of House Democrats last week introduced a resolution to censure Gosar, condemning both the video and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) silence.

“For that Member to post such a video on his official Instagram account and use his official congressional resources in the House of Representatives to further violence against elected officials goes beyond the pale,” the Democratic lawmakers said in a statement then. “As the events of January 6 have shown, such vicious and vulgar messaging can and does foment actual violence.”

A censure is less severe than expulsion from the House but more severe than a reprimand. If the House votes to censure a member, that lawmaker must stand in the “well” of the House chamber as the censure resolution and a verbal rebuke are read aloud.

Felicia Sonmez contributed to this report.

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