The United States House of Representatives voted on Nov. 17 to censure Republican Representative Paul Gosar after he posted an edited anime video depicting him killing Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and attacking President Joe Biden.
The House voted 223 to 207 to approve a resolution that also removes Gosar from his two committee assignments — the House Oversight and Reform Committee and the Natural Resources Committee — stripping him of a powerful platform to influence legislation.
“We cannot have a member joking about murdering each other or threatening the President of the United States,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a speech at the House floor.
“Disguising death threats as a video doesn’t make it less real,” Pelosi further said.
Censure is considered the harshest form of punishment in the House after expulsion.
This was the first time a sitting House member has been censured in over a decade.
The controversial video showed a character with Gosar’s face wielding swords to kill a character with Ocasio-Cortez’s face then attacking another character with Biden’s face.
“As leaders in this country, when we incite violence with depictions against our colleagues, that trickles down into violence in this country, and that is where we must draw the line, independent of party or belief,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a floor speech.
Gosar removed the video from his social media after intense criticism, but he defended his actions and did not apologize.
“I voluntarily took the cartoon down not because it was itself a threat, but because some thought it was. Out of compassion for those who generally felt offense, I self-censored,” Gosar also said.
House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy accused Democrats of “hypocrisy” and called the vote an “abuse of power.”
Pelosi said the censure was about “workplace harassment and violence against women.”
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