Rep. Paul Gosar looked like the loneliest man on Capitol Hill on Wednesday as the House of Representatives prepared a vote to censure the Republican and remove him from his committee assignments over a tweet that depicted him as an anime character assassinating progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and attacking President Biden.
As lawmakers headed to the House floor to debate the censure resolution, Gosar kept his head down and his thoughts to himself, a stars-and-stripes mask on his face.
He walked by reporters without saying a word prior to the vote and was pictured sitting all alone on the Capitol complex’s subway system.
A few moments later, Ocasio-Cortez ripped House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on the House floor over his response to Gosar’s video.
“It is a sad day in which a member who leads a political party in the United States of America cannot bring themselves to say that issuing a depiction of murdering a member of congress is wrong and instead decides to venture off into a tangent about gas prices and inflation,” she said. “What is so hard, what is so hard about saying that this is wrong? This is not about me. This is not about Representative Gosar, but this is about what we are willing to accept.”
Gosar, 62, came under fire after tweeting the 90-second clip showing him going after the high-profile Democrats with a sword just over a week ago. Top Democrats have accused Gosar of inciting violence against his colleagues, with some suggesting it may have been a criminal act.
Gosar and Ocasio-Cortez both sat on the House Oversight committee. If the vote succeeds, Gosar would be removed from that committee as well as the House Natural Resources Committee.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Gosar’s “extremely disturbing” actions “demand a response.”
“We cannot have a member joking about murdering each other or threatening the president of the United States,” she said.
McCarthy, meanwhile, accused Pelosi of “burning down the House on her way out the door.”
“We got to this point on the basis of a double standard. Democrats want to change the rules but refuse to apply them to their own caucus,” McCarthy said. “I listened to the speaker talk about the highest standards. Madam Speaker, when a Democratic chairwoman [Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) flew to Minneapolis and told an angry crowd during a trial to stay on the street, get more active, get more confrontational, we’ve got to make sure they know we mean business … Democrats refused to take action.”
“This side of the aisle didn’t ask that chairwoman to lose her committee, we simply asked for an apology,” McCarthy added.
Gosar has been embroiled in multiple controversies since first taking office, including fundraising with white nationalist Nick Fuentes earlier this year, though that incident was not mentioned in the resolution.
Gosar previously defended the video in a statement, asserting he does not condone violence and arguing it was “a symbolic portrayal of a fight over immigration policy.”
During a closed-door conference meeting Tuesday morning, he explained anime to his GOP colleagues and argued it could be used to broaden their outreach to voters, according to sources in the room.
The measure — introduced by Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) on Friday — takes aim at GOP leadership in addition to reprimanding the controversial conservative, including language stating “the leadership of the Republican Party has failed to condemn Representative Gosar’s threats of violence against the President of the United States and a fellow Member of Congress.”
Ocasio-Cortez told reporters on Tuesday neither Gosar nor McCarthy has reached out to her since the since-deleted tweet was posted.
While controversial Rep. GOP Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and former Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) lost committee assignments following controversial remarks, the resolution’s passage marks the first time a House member has been censured since 2010, with just 23 others having been censured in the history of the House of Representatives.
Former Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) was the last House member to be censured, over tax evasion on a vacation home and other ethics violations.