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House Democrats introduce resolution to censure Rep. Gosar over animated video that depicted him killing Rep. Ocasio-Cortez

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) attends a hearing at the Capitol on July 28, 2020.
Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) attends a hearing at the Capitol on July 28, 2020. (Pool/Reuters)

A group of House Democrats is introducing a resolution to censure Rep. Paul A. Gosar (R-Ariz.) for posting an altered, animated video that depicts him killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and swinging two swords at President Biden.

“For a Member of Congress to post a manipulated video on his social media accounts depicting himself killing Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and attacking President Biden is a clear cut case for censure,” the Democrats said in a statement. “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 resolution will be introduced Friday by Democratic Reps. Jackie Speier (Calif.), Jim Cooper (Tenn.), Brenda Lawrence (Mich.), Sylvia Garcia (Tex.), Veronica Escobar (Tex.), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.), Rashida Tlaib (Mich.), Eric Swalwell (Calif.), Nikema Williams (Ga.), and Ayanna Pressley (Mass.). Speier and Lawrence are co-chairs of the Democratic Women’s Caucus.

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)

The resolution marks the latest Democratic backlash against Gosar over the video. On Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called for multiple investigations into Gosar’s posting of the video and urged House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to join in condemning the “horrific video.”

McCarthy has not responded to multiple requests for comment.

Gosar has long drawn criticism for his extremist views, including his spreading of conspiracy theories about the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob and the deadly white-nationalist rally in Charlottesville in 2017. In February, he appeared at an event whose organizer called for white supremacy. Gosar later distanced himself from the organizer’s remarks.

The congressman’s Sunday night post — which he shared on Twitter and Instagram, and which appears to have since been deleted — was an altered version of the opening credits of the Japanese animated series “Attack on Titan.”

In one scene, Ocasio-Cortez’s face is edited over one of the Titans’ faces. Gosar flies into the air and slashes the Titan in the back of the neck, killing it. In another scene, Gosar swings two swords at a foe whose face has been replaced by that of Biden.

Ocasio-Cortez said Monday night that Gosar will likely “face no consequences bc @GOPLeader cheers him on with excuses.”

“Fun Monday! Well, back to work bc institutions don’t protect woc,” she tweeted, referring to women of color. She also pointed to several instances in which she was harassed or accosted at the Capitol by GOP members of Congress.

Gosar’s siblings have long been vocal in criticizing his actions. On Tuesday, his sister, Jennifer Gosar, said the congressman’s behavior “definitely is getting worse, because no one — no one — holds him accountable.”

“This is something that I have to openly wonder: Does he have to act on it himself before we believe that he is an absolute — he’s a sociopath?” Jennifer Gosar said in an interview with CNN.

A Gosar staffer defended the video Monday night, dismissing claims that it glorifies violence and declaring, “Everyone needs to relax.”

The congressman later issued a statement Tuesday night in which he defended the video as “a symbolic portrayal of a fight over immigration policy” and said he does not “espouse violence or harm towards any Member of Congress or Mr. Biden.”

Speier and the other Democrats who are introducing the censure resolution pushed back in their statement Wednesday night, noting that the events of Jan. 6 have demonstrated that “such vicious and vulgar messaging can and does foment actual violence.”

“Violence against women in politics is a global phenomenon meant to silence women and discourage them from seeking positions of authority and participating in public life, with women of color disproportionately impacted. Minority Leader McCarthy’s silence is tacit approval and just as dangerous,” the House Democrats said.