Pelosi on Gosar punishment: ‘It’s an emergency’

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Wednesday defended the Democrats’ decision to punish Rep. Paul Gosar, saying the Arizona Republican crossed a bright red line — and may have committed criminal acts — in posting an animated video in which he kills a Democratic congresswoman and threatens the same fate of President Biden.

“Because it’s an emergency,” Pelosi told reporters in the Capitol.

“[There are] legal matters in terms of threatening a member and threatening the president of the United States,” she added. “We have to address it immediately, and I’m so pleased that our members understand that this is central to our work in Congress that we protect the integrity of the House, of the institution, but also the lives of our members.”

The remarks came just hours before House Democrats will hold a vote on a resolution to censure Gosar and remove him from his assignments on the Oversight and Reform and the Natural Resources committees. The censure option is extremely rare — it was last used to punish Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) in 2010 — and represents the last worst punishment available to House leaders before a member is expelled.

Stripping members of committee assignments is slightly more common; Democrats already voted this year to remove Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) from her positions on the Education and the Budget committees for a series of racist and violent statements she’d posted on social media.

Gosar has been under intense scrutiny since last week, when he tweeted an animated video depicting himself and other Republicans as heroic warriors fighting against Democrats, interspersed with footage of migrants arriving at the southern U.S. border.

The edited video features characters from the Japanese anime series “Attack on Titan,” their faces replaced with pictures of Gosar and two other conservative firebrands — Reps. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) and Greene — who bound around the screen with various weapons. In one scene, Gosar’s character executes another character, doctored to depict Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), by striking her in the back of the neck with a sword.

In another, Gosar confronts Biden head-on with two swords drawn.

In promoting the video to his Twitter followers, Gosar asked, “Any anime fans out there?”

Gosar has since removed the video from his Twitter account, but he has refused to apologize, saying the video was merely a “symbolic cartoon” designed to highlight the Democrats’ immigration policies.

GOP leaders have also declined to weigh in on Gosar’s violent video. Their criticism in recent weeks has been focused instead on the 13 Republican lawmakers who joined Democrats earlier this month to pass a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, which Biden signed into law on Monday. Although infrastructure is widely popular among voters — and the legislation was bipartisan, enjoying the support of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) — it was fervently opposed by former President Trump, prompting House Republicans to oppose it overwhelmingly.

Pelosi on Wednesday hammered GOP leaders for declining to address Gosar’s actions internally, as they’d done in 2019 with Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), who’d defended white supremacy.

“It is outrageous on the part of the Republican leadership not to act upon this,” Pelosi said.

Tags Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Charlie Rangel Donald Trump Gosar censure Joe Biden Lauren Boebert Marjorie Taylor Greene Mitch McConnell Nancy Pelosi Paul Gosar Steve King

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