Paul Gosar re-shares controversial video after House censure

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Washington — After receiving a rare formal rebuke from the House because of an anime video depicting violence against Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and President Biden, Congressman Paul Gosar re-shared to his social media account the offending cartoon that sparked his punishment.

The Arizona Republican retweeted a post from a conservative podcast and television host that included the video after the House voted 223 to 207 to censure Gosar and remove him from two congressional committees. The congressman then appeared to remove the post from his Twitter feed.

With the House’s vote Wednesday afternoon, Gosar became the 24th member of Congress in U.S. history to be censured, the most severe punishment a lawmaker can face short of expulsion. In addition to the formal rebuke of the congressman, he was also stripped of his assignments to the House Oversight and Reform Committee, on which Ocasio-Cortez also serves, and Natural Resources Committee.

The move to censure Gosar stemmed from an edited anime video the congressman shared to his official social media accounts last week, which racked up more than 3 million views before he removed the posts. In the cartoon, Gosar is portrayed as a sword-wielding character who slashes at a figure with Ocasio-Cortez’s face from behind, causing the character to collapse to the ground. Then, with a sword in each hand, Gosar is depicted charging toward Mr. Biden and raising his arms in attack.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said before the vote the censure resolution was about “workplace harassment and violence against women.” But some Republicans warned the decision by the Democrat-led House to remove Gosar from his committees set a dangerous precedent that they will follow when they win control of the House.

In remarks from the House floor, Gosar did not apologize to Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat from New York, but said he does not “espouse violence toward anyone.” The congressman said once he realized his colleagues felt threatened by the video, he “self-censored” and removed the portrayal from his social media accounts.

Two Republicans, Liz Cheney of Wisconsin and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, joined with all Democrats in supporting the censure resolution.

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