House narrowly censures member for Twitter video depicting violence against Biden, AOC

Rep. Paul Gosar

Rep. Paul Gosar shared a video to Twitter last week that depicted violence against a member of Congress.

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The House of Representatives on Wednesday censured Rep. Paul Gosar, a Republican from Arizona, for sharing an animated video online that showed him killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat from New York, and attacking President Joe Biden. The vote, which hewed closely to party lines, is the first censure of a sitting House member in more than 10 years, according to CNN.

The House voted 223 to 207 to censure Gosar, who was removed from his House committee assignments. Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois were the only two Republicans to vote in favor of the decision. Rep. David Joyce, a Republican from Ohio, voted present, meaning he didn’t take a stance on whether to censure Gosar.

Representatives for Gosar didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Gosar posted the video last week from both his personal and professional Twitter accounts, according to NPR. The video, which was about a minute and a half long, seemed to be “an edited version of the opening credits of the Japanese manga series Attack on Titan,” NPR reported. Twitter hid the tweets from view, prompting users to click on a label to see them, but didn’t take them down. Gosar eventually removed them.

“I voluntarily took the cartoon down not because it was itself a threat, but because some thought it was,” Gosar said in remarks during the House’s debate. “I do not espouse violence towards anyone. I never have. It was not my purpose to make anyone upset.” 

He continued, “If I must join Alexander Hamilton, the first person attempted to be censored by this House, so be it. It is done.”

In a tweet last week, Ocasio-Cortez wrote: “So while I was en route to Glasgow, a creepy member I work with who fundraises for Neo-Nazi groups shared a fantasy video of him killing me.” In follow-up tweets, she called out other instances in which she’s been harassed at work

“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,” Ocasio-Cortez said during Wednesday’s debate. 

The White House didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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