The House on Wednesday voted 223-207 to censure Arizona Republican Paul Gosar and remove him from his committee roles for posting an animated video that depicted him killing New York Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, an action he has refused to acknowledge as inappropriate.
Two Republicans joined all Democrats to force Gosar off the Oversight and Reform and Natural Resources panels and take the rare act of censuring him, which is reserved for “more serious violations” and a step below expulsion. One Republican, Ohio’s David Joyce, voted present.
The only two Republicans who voted to discipline Gosar were the only two GOP members of the select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol attack: Wyoming’s Liz Cheney, who serves as vice-chair, and Illinois’ Adam Kinzinger.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi read the rebuke as Gosar stood in the chamber’s well to receive his public shaming. Gosar stood without a mask, looking up at Pelosi as she read the censure resolution. He was flanked in the well by several Republicans, including Reps. Andrew Clyde and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia.
Greene was stripped of her committee assignments earlier this year for several instances of misconduct, including liking a Facebook comment in 2019 that said “a bullet to the head would be quicker” to remove Pelosi from the speakership. The last member censured by the House before Gosar was New York Democrat Charles B. Rangel in 2010 for a string of ethical violations, and prior to that, the most recent cases were in the early 1980s.
On the floor, Gosar said the video was not “dangerous” or “threatening” but depicted a “policy battle” over “illegal aliens.”
“I do not espouse violence towards anyone. I never have. It was not my purpose to make anyone upset. 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,” he said.
“These actions demand a response,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. “We cannot have a member joking about murdering each other or threatening the president of the United States. This is both an endangerment of our elected officials and an insult to the institution of the House of Representatives.”
Gosar has since removed the posts and taken down the video. However, he never publicly apologized and after the censure vote, he retweeted a post with that same video.