The US House has voted to censure Paul Gosar, Republican of Arizona, and remove him from his committee seats after he posted an anime on his social media accounts depicting himself attacking New York Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and insulting President Joe Biden.
The censure resolution was passed in a 223-207-1 vote, with GOP representatives Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois joining all Democrats in casting the “yea” vote while Ohio Republican Congressman Dave Joyce voting “present.”
A censure resolution is the most severe form of punishment in the House, and Gosar became just the 24th member of the House to be censured in the chamber’s over 200 years of history, Xinhua news agency reported.
Gosar will also be removed from the House Oversight and Reform Committee and the House Natural Resources Committee. Stripping a member of his or her committee assignments deprives the representative of the ability to influence legislation and advance constituent priorities on a powerful platform.
What led to the House taking the extraordinary steps was a photoshopped anime video Gosar posted on and later deleted from his social media accounts. The video depicted himself as cartoon anime-type hero attacking a giant with Ocasio-Cortez’ face with a sword from behind and in another scene — flying through the air and swinging two swords at a character with Biden’s face.
Refusing to apologize, Gosar said the video was not meant to “espouse violence towards anyone” but only to symbolize his disagreement with the Biden administration’s immigration policy. He said the animation was “not itself a threat,” using the term “self-censored” to describe his decision to take it down.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who read the censure resolution aloud before the vote as Gosar was forced to stand in the center of the House floor, said Gosar’s posts target women of color like Ocasio-Cortez, intending “to silence women and keep them from positions of authority and participating in public life.”
Rebuking Gosar’s claims that the video was symbolic, Ocasio-Cortez said that “as leaders in this country, when we incite violence with depictions against our colleagues, that trickles down into violence in this country. And that is where we must draw the line, independent of party, identity or belief.”