Democrats move to censure Gosar over violent video attacking Biden, AOC

Gosar could become the first House member in a decade to be censured.

November 11, 2021, 5:40 PM

A group of House Democrats have announced that on Friday they will formally introduce a measure to censure Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., for tweeting an edited Japanese cartoon showing him stabbing President Joe Biden and killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.

Gosar on Monday tweeted the message, "any anime fans out there?" with what appeared to be an edited clip of the Japanese cartoon series "Attack on Titan," in which the main characters fight off giants trying to exterminate humanity.

The edited clip of the show's opening credits depict Gosar and other GOP lawmakers flying through the air and stabbing giants with the faces of Biden and Ocasio-Cortez, in between images of Border Patrol officers with migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border.

PHOTO: Rep. Paul Gosar objects to Arizona's Electoral College certification during a joint session of Congress to count the votes of the 2020 presidential election in the House Chamber in Washington, D.C., Jan. 6, 2021.
Rep. Paul Gosar objects to Arizona's Electoral College certification during a joint session of Congress to count the votes of the 2020 presidential election in the House Chamber in Washington, D.C., Jan. 6, 2021.
The Hill/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Gosar was immediately condemned by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Ocasio-Cortez and other Democrats, some of whom called for his expulsion from Congress and charged him with glorifying violence against the prominent Democrats.

Pelosi tweeted on Tuesday, "Threats of violence against Members of Congress and the President of the United States must not be tolerated. @GOPLeader should join in condemning this horrific video and call on the Ethics Committee and law enforcement to investigate."

"For a Member of Congress to post a manipulated video on his social media accounts depicting himself killing Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and attacking President Biden is a clear cut case for censure," Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., and other Democrats co-sponsoring her resolution wrote in a statement on Wednesday.

PHOTO: Rep. Jackie Speier, speaks at a press conference on the Equal Rights Amendment on Capitol Hill, Oct. 21, 2021 in Washington, D.C.
Rep. Jackie Speier, speaks at a press conference on the Equal Rights Amendment on Capitol Hill, Oct. 21, 2021 in Washington, D.C.
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images, FILE

"For that Member to post such a video on his official Instagram account and use his official congressional resources in the House of Representatives to further violence against elected officials goes beyond the pale."

Ocasio-Cortez also denounced House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy for not publicly criticizing Gosar's actions. Aides to the California Republican did not respond to a message from ABC News seeking comment on the video.

Gosar eventually took down the tweet and video Tuesday night, after Twitter placed a public interest notice on the post. He said the video produced by his office was meant to "symbolize the battle for the soul of America" and was "in no way intended to be a targeted attack against" the Democrats.

"The cartoon depicts the symbolic nature of a battle between lawful and unlawful policies and in no way intended to be a targeted attack against Representative Cortez or Mr. Biden," Gosar said in a statement.

PHOTO: U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks at an event at the US Climate Action Center at the COP26 U.N. Climate Summit in Glasgow, Scotland, Nov. 9, 2021.
U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks at an event at the US Climate Action Center at the COP26 U.N. Climate Summit in Glasgow, Scotland, Nov. 9, 2021.
Alastair Grant/AP

"It is a symbolic cartoon. It is not real life. Congressman Gosar cannot fly. The hero of the cartoon goes after the monster, the policy monster of open borders. I will always fight to defend the rule of law, securing our borders, and the America First agenda," the statement said.

If the censure resolution is taken up by the full House and approved by a majority of lawmakers present and voting, Gosar could be forced to stand in the center of the House chamber as the resolution condemning his actions are read aloud.

PHOTO: The US Capitol Building is seen in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11, 2021.
The US Capitol Building is seen in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11, 2021.
Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

It's not yet clear if the House will take action against Gosar, who has courted controversy for spreading conspiracy theories about the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and appearing at a white nationalist event last winter -- though he distanced himself from the main organizer and his comments.

Twenty-three members of Congress have been censured for misconduct, according to a 2016 Congressional Research Service Report.

Former Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., was the last member of Congress to be censured -- in December 2010 -- accused of nearly a dozen ethics violations.

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