WASHINGTON – The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on a resolution to censor Republican Representative Paul Gosar of Arizona for posting an animated video depicting him attacking Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, DN .Y., with a sword.
Ahead of the vote scheduled for Wednesday, Democratic lawmakers said Gosar’s actions threatened the life of another member, calling the video “too pale.” Republicans warned Democrats to be careful about ordering sanctions against those who serve in the minority because of the precedent it will set.
Earlier this year, the House removed Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., from her committee duties for spreading hateful and violent conspiracy theories.
“This is a dark and dangerous path that the majority will go down,” Representative Tom Cole of Oklahoma, a ranking Republican on the House Rules Committee, said Tuesday. “I implore you for the future of the room to rethink this course.”
Gosar posted the video over a week ago with the note: “Is anyone an anime fan?” The roughly 90-second video is an altered version of the Japanese anime clip, interspersed with footage of Border Patrol officers and migrants at the southern US border.
In a fraction of 10 seconds, the cartoon characters with faces were replaced with Gosars. Greene and Representative Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., have been shown fighting other cartoon characters. In one scene, Gosar’s character is seen wearing a sword around the neck of what looks like Ocasio-Cortez. The video also shows him attacking US President Joe Biden.
“I don’t know if it created harm, was it meant to incite violence, but it could have accomplished all of that,” said Representative Veronica Escobar, D-Texas. “We have an obligation to hold to the highest possible standards, but also to those standards. If we’re not doing that, what we’re doing is allowing a new standard to be created. .”
Last week, Gosar released a statement saying the video was not intended to depict harm or violence, instead calling it “an iconic depiction of the fight against immigration policy.”
Gosar told Republican colleagues in the House during a private meeting on Tuesday that he would never endorse violence or harm to anyone. He noted that he had taken down the video from his account, according to a person in the room who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private meeting.
Ocasio-Cortez said Tuesday that he has not apologized to her.
“It’s been more than a week. Not only did he not apologize,” she said. “Not only did he not contact or approach, neither he nor Republican leader (Kevin) McCarthy, but he doubled down on saying that I’m somehow, you know, representative of the people who don’t have one. papers.”
“In a perfect world, he would be deported,” she told reporters. “We’re not in a perfect world, so I believe censorship and removal from the committee are appropriate.”
The upcoming resolution for a vote states that depictions of violence can induce actual violence and jeopardize the safety of elected officials. It also cites the U.S. Capitol uprising on January 6 as an example. The resolution goes on to say that violence against women in politics is a global phenomenon aimed at silencing and discouraging them from seeking positions of power and participating in public life, with Women of color are disproportionately affected.
A censorship resolution, if passed by a majority of the House, requires the censored legislator to stand in the House’s well because the censorship resolution is read aloud by the speaker of the House.
The House of Representatives has censored its members 23 times. The final censorship resolution was passed in 2010 involving Democratic Representative Charles Rangel, former chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, for financial misconduct. Censorship has no practical effect, except to provide a historical footnote marking a lawmaker’s career.
The censorship resolution also calls for Gosar to remove the two committees he serves: the Natural Resources Commission and the Oversight and Reform Commission, which includes Ocasio-Cortez.
Representative Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., is one of the few Republicans to say he will vote to censor Gosar.
“We must hold Members responsible for inciting or glorifying violence, who spread and carry out dangerous conspiracies. Failure to do so will take us one step further towards violence. This fantasy force becomes reality,” Kinzinger tweeted.
Associated Press journalist Alan Fram contributed to this report.