Gosar defends anime Ocasio-Cortez video to GOP

Rep. Paul GosarPaul Anthony GosarDearborn office of Rep. Debbie Dingell vandalized The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden to update Americans on omicron; Congress back Vigilantes are not patriots MORE (R-Ariz.) said Tuesday that he did not intend to promote violence when he shared a photoshopped anime video on social media last week that depicted him killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezDearborn office of Rep. Debbie Dingell vandalized Restless progressives eye 2024 Five issues that will define the months until the midterms  MORE (D-N.Y.) and swinging swords at President BidenJoe BidenDearborn office of Rep. Debbie Dingell vandalized Pfizer to apply for COVID-19 booster approval for 16- and 17-year-olds: report Coronavirus variant raises fresh concerns for economy MORE.

Gosar's comments came during a closed-door GOP conference meeting, the first gathering of House Republicans since he posted the video during the Veterans Day recess last week.

The remarks from the Arizona representative came as Democrats consider voting to censure him this week. 

Gosar stressed that he doesn't support violence against fellow members of Congress and reiterated that he removed the video from Twitter last week following backlash. He also claimed that he didn't see the violence in the photoshopped anime video before it was posted to his Twitter account.

"It was not his intent to ever harm anybody," said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyDearborn office of Rep. Debbie Dingell vandalized Omar, Boebert blast one another after tense call The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden to update Americans on omicron; Congress back MORE (R-Calif.), relaying Gosar's remarks to reporters afterward.

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McCarthy also said that he doesn't approve of anything that depicts violence toward members of Congress. 

"What I said to [the] conference was, [we] cannot accept any action or showing of violence to another member," McCarthy said.

A spokesperson for Gosar didn't immediately return a request for comment from The Hill.

Rep. Jackie SpeierKaren (Jackie) Lorraine Jacqueline SpeierGOP eyes booting Democrats from seats if House flips Texas Democrat Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson announces retirement at end of term Democratic Rep. Butterfield won't seek reelection: report MORE (D-Calif.), a co-chair of the Democratic Women's Caucus, introduced a resolution last week to censure Gosar over the video.

Democrats have not yet decided whether to bring the resolution to the House floor this week. Such a vote would make Gosar only the 24th House member to be censured in the chamber's history, and the first in more than a decade.

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"We're discussing what actions are appropriate," House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerOmar, Boebert blast one another after tense call Maryland Democrats target lone Republican in redistricting scheme GOP leader's marathon speech forces House Democrats to push vote MORE (D-Md.) said Tuesday.

"This action is unacceptable, and inaction by the Republicans is unacceptable," Hoyer added.

Two Republicans, Reps. Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyThe GOP's post-1/6 playbook is clear — and it's dangerous Trump allies leaning on his executive privilege claims Two Fox News contributors quit over Tucker Carlson's Jan. 6 documentary MORE (Wyo.) and Adam KinzingerAdam Daniel KinzingerThe GOP's post-1/6 playbook is clear — and it's dangerous Kinzinger on possible governor bid: 'I'm the only candidate that can win' against Pritzker McBath to run in neighboring district after GOP redrew lines MORE (Ill.), signaled last week that they would support censuring Gosar over the video.

McCarthy urged Republicans to stay unified and focus on their opposition to Democrats' $1.75 trillion social spending package, which is expected to pass in the House later this week.

Some Republicans on the far right, meanwhile, are pushing to take away committee assignments from the 13 House GOP lawmakers who voted for the bipartisan infrastructure bill earlier this month.

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Rep. Marjorie Taylor GreeneMarjorie Taylor GreeneGOP efforts to downplay danger of Capitol riot increase The Memo: What now for anti-Trump Republicans? Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene says she's meeting with Trump 'soon' in Florida MORE (R-Ga.) tweeted out the office phone numbers of the 13 Republicans, and some of those lawmakers have subsequently received death threats for helping deliver a legislative victory for Biden.  

McCarthy indicated that he doesn't think those 13 Republicans should face retribution for their actions.

"I'm opposed to any person getting any death threat or security problem whatsoever," McCarthy told reporters.

If Democrats do pursue censure against Gosar, it would mark the second time they would be taking punitive action against a Republican in the absence of any sanction from GOP party leadership.

Democrats — along with 11 Republicans — previously voted earlier this year to remove Greene from committees for her past embrace of conspiracy theories and apparent endorsements of violence against Democrats.