The House of Representatives has voted to censure Republican congressman Paul Gosar and strip him of two committees for tweeting a violent animated video in which he murders congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and swinging swords at President Joe Biden.
This is the first time the House has censured one of its members in over a decade. It is considered to be the strongest action you can take against a congressperson without removing them from their position entirely.
The House resolution said that the depiction of violence, even in anime, can create real violence, therefore jeopardizing the safety of elected officials. The resolution cited the violent insurrection in the Capitol on Jan 6 as an example of violent rhetoric creating violence.
Furthermore, the House said that violence against women in politics is a worldwide issue and it is enacted to silence women and prevent them from positions of power.
Gosar failed to apologize and instead aggressively defended himself. He said that he does not “espouse violence”. He claimed he “self censored” by deleting the tweet after hearing colleagues felt threatened by the video. His lack of apology to AOC was noted by many news outlets.
His fellow Republicans have been criticized for saying nothing on the matter and choosing to ride party lines rather than denounce bad behavior. Experts in violence against women say that this teaches the public that violent rhetoric and violent videos threatening murdering women is acceptable.
A mere two Republicans voted for the censure. Some claimed the censure was party politics, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said it was exclusively about workplace harassment and abuse, as well as violence against women.
Only 23 congresspeople have ever before been censured. The most recent was in 2010 against democratic congressman Charles Rangel from New York for ethics violations.