Gosar defends anime Ocasio-Cortez video to GOP
Rep. Paul Gosar (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-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and swinging swords at President Biden.
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 McCarthy (R-Calif.), relaying Gosar’s remarks to reporters afterward.
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 Speier (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.
“We’re discussing what actions are appropriate,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Tuesday.
“This action is unacceptable, and inaction by the Republicans is unacceptable,” Hoyer added.
Two Republicans, Reps. Liz Cheney (Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (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.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (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.