The House voted for a resolution Wednesday that both censor Republican Rep. Paul Gosar and remove him from his committee duties after the Arizona congressman encrypted an edited Japanese anime cartoon last week showing him stabbing President Joe Biden and killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, DN. Y., before he removed it.
The vote was 223-207, mostly along party lines. GOP Deputies Adam Kinzinger of Illinois and Liz Cheney of Wyoming voted with all Democrats to censor Gosar. Deputy David Joyce, R-Ohio, voted “present.”
Gosar, flanked by nearly a dozen colleagues in the hard-right House Freedom Caucus, was standing in the House’s well when the censorship resolution was read aloud.
Democrats spent hours on the House on Wednesday admonishing GOP leaders for not publicly condemning the Twitter post of Gosar, a staunch Trump supporter who has supported conspiracy theories and associated with white nationalist groups in the past.
“This isn’t about me,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a passionate floor speech. “This is not about representative Gosar. This is about what we are willing to accept.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was the first to spark a debate on Gosar’s actions which, she said, “require a response.”
“We can’t have members joking about murdering each other or threatening the president of the United States. This is both an accusation by our elected officials and an insult to the institution of the House of Representatives. It’s not just about us as members of Congress. “It’s a danger to everyone in the country,” Pelosi said.
“When a member uses their national platform to encourage violence, tragically, people listen to those words,” Pelosi added, before condemning House GOP leadership for, in her opinion, failing to hold his colleague accountable. “It is unfortunate that this whole House has to take this step because of the refusal of the other party’s leadership.”
She said it took nine days for Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy to speak publicly about the incident and that when he did, he “only” said there was no harm intended.
Sources confirmed to ABC News on Tuesday that Gosar apologized for the tweet behind closed doors during a GOP conference meeting. McCarthy said he also spoke privately with Gosar about the tweet, but he did not appear to take further action against him.
McCarthy opposed the Democratic move to censor Gosar and remove him from his committee duties, but instead of defending Gosar’s actions before the vote, he blasted Democrats for what he thought was an overreach of power.
“The speaker burns down the House as he exits the door,” McCarthy said. “Let me be clear. I do not tolerate violence, and Representative Gosar reiterated that sentiment.”
Gosar, speaking publicly about the video for the first time, which he said in an earlier statement was an attempt by his staff to reach a younger audience, said he did not tolerate violence but seemed to accept his fate as Democrats barrel to the vote. .
“I do not accept violence or harm to any member of Congress or Mr. Biden,” Gosar said, especially not calling Biden “president.”
“If I have to join Alexander Hamilton, the first person tried to be censored by this House, so be it. It’s done,” he added.
Ocasio-Cortez urged her colleagues to vote “yes” and said the depictions are part of a larger trend of misogyny and racism in America.
“Can you find anyone in the room who finds this behavior acceptable?” she asked her colleagues. “Would you allow that in your home? Do you think that should happen on a school board … a church?”
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told reporters during a press call on Tuesday, “I have never in 40 years seen such vile, hateful, scandalous, dangerous and inciting violence against a colleague, ever.”
“The fact that they themselves wouldn’t do any action or themselves would make some comments that I haven’t seen is a testament that maybe they are rationalizing because they are rationalizing other items of criminal behavior, this particular act,” Hoyer said of Republicans. .
The resolution boots Gosar from the Control and Reform Committee, which he serves in conjunction with Ocasio-Cortez. It also removes him from the Natural Resources Committee.
Late Monday night, Pelosi told reporters it was up to McCarthy to curb and rebuke his conference members – but Democrats, outraged by Gosar’s behavior, insisted on a floor vote. On Tuesday she deemed the resolution an appropriate measure.
“Why go after [Gosar]? Because he made threats, suggestions about harming a member of Congress … We can’t have members joking about murdering each other as well as threatening the president of the United States, ”Pelosi said.
After a vote was imminent, Gosar on Tuesday seemed challenging, crumpling a meme that says, “God gives his toughest fights to his strongest soldiers.”
Twenty-three members of Congress have previously been censored for misconduct, according to a 2016 Congressional Research Service Report.
Former Rep. Charlie Rangel, DN.Y., was the last member of Congress to be censored – in December 2010 – accused of nearly a dozen ethics violations.