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Tipsheet

House Votes to Censure Rep. Paul Gosar, Remove Him from Committees

AP Photo/Matt York, File

On Wednesday, the House voted to censure Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), making him the 24th House member to face such a form of rebuke. As Cristina Marcos reported for The Hill, the vote of 223-207 was almost entirely along party lines. Republican Rep. Dave Joyce from Ohio voted "present." Not surprisingly, Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois voted in favor of censuring Gosar. The move comes after Rep. Gosar posted a photoshopped anime video of him killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).

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A member who is censured must then stand at the center of the House floor while the Speaker of the House reads aloud a resolution.

As Marcos reported, the resolution made the issue about January 6 and "[v]iolence against women."

During debate on the House floor over the censure, Rep. Gosar discussed his decision to take down the now-deleted tweet, as well as what he called "mischaracterizations... that the cartoon from my office is dangerous or threatening. It was not, and I reject the false narrative categorically." 

The congressman also communicated that "I do not espouse violence toward anyone, I never have" and that "it was not my purpose to make anyone upset. Doubling down on how he says he is not violent, Gosar went on to explain "I voluntarily took the cartoon down, not because it was itself a threat, but because some thought it was. Out of those who generally felt offensive, I self-censored." As Gosar mentioned, Twitter itself did not remove the tweet.

Gosar also took the time to explain the greater context of what he says the video was addressing. "The cartoon directly contributes to the understanding and the discussion of a real life battle resulting from this administration's open border policies." He then criticized the spending bill, which he called "reckless," "socialist," and "Marxist," specifically highlighting illegal immigration. 

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He went to refer to illegal immigration as a "plague."" Gosar emphasized "I don't stop pointing this out, nor will I," and later similarly said "no matter how much the Left tries to quiet me, I will continue to speak out, against amnesty for illegal aliens, and the rule of law, and advance the American First agenda." Bringing it back to the video, he noted "I have said decisively, there is no threat in the cartoon, other than the threat immigration poses to our country. And no threat was intended by my staff, or me."

In his closing words during floor debate, Gosar appeared to accept his fate. "If I must join Alexander Hamilton, the first person attempted to be censured by this House, so be it. It is done." 

Many pointed to hypocrisy coming from the Democratic Party. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) during her remarks referenced Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), who has made particularly disparaging remarks towards Israel, including claims that "Israel has hypnotized the world.

Boebert also took issue with Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), who was involved with a Chinese spy.

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) has made particularly concerning remarks over the years about the Trump administration, as she did in 2018. In April 2021, she crossed state lines and broke a curfew to speak out against Derek Chauvin in the middle of the night while the jury was deliberating whether to find him guilty for George Floyd's death, which they ultimately did.

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"If you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them, and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere," Waters said to a crowd in 2018.

"I know this, we've got to stay in the streets," Waters said to a group of activists. "We are looking for a guilty verdict," Waters said in April. "If nothing does not happen then we have to not only stay in the streets but we have to fight for justice," she continued. "I am very hopeful and I hope that we are going to get a verdict that is guilty, guilty, guilty and if we don't, we cannot go away."  

A short time after Rep. Waters' remarks, national guardsmen in Minnesota were shot at

Even Sen. Chuck Schumer, in March 2020, then the senate minority leader, warned Supreme Court Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch would "pay the price" if they didn't vote a certain way in an abortion case.

Leah has included other examples here, from her reporting about Waters' remarks. 

House Minority Leader (R-CA) also pointed out this hypocrisy and the potential for a slippery slope in his remarks. 

Gosar, from his personal account, took to tweeting thanks to fellow Republicans, including and especially members of the House Freedom Caucus.
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CNN's Manu Raju tweeted that other Republican members stood beside him. Gosar alluded to and thanked those members as well, in tweets and retweets.

Additionally, Gosar will be removed from his committee positions on the House Natural Resources Committee, and House Oversight, with AOC also serving on the latter.

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