Congressman Paul Gosar, who represents the state of Arizona in the House of Representatives, has officially been censured following his release of an edited Attack on Titan video that showed him attacking or killing several prominent Democrats, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and President Joe Biden.
As reported by CNN, Gosar was censured by the House following a lengthy debate. The Arizona Representative originally shared the video on Twitter and Instagram on Nov. 7. The video is made of edited clips from the Attack on Titan anime, which shows the faces of Gosar and several other prominent far-right conservatives superimposed over the bodies of the series' heroes, as they swing through a city and kill several of the franchise's titular monsters, who have been edited to feature the likenesses of AOC and the President. Gosar later deleted the video following the backlash.
Gosar is the 24th House representative in the history of Congress to be censured. The last House member to be censured was former Representative Charlie Rangel, a Democrat from New York, who was censured in 2010 for tax and fund-raising violations. Censuring itself is a mostly symbolic punishment, but more importantly, the resolution also strips Gosar of his committee assignments, including his positions on the Committee on Oversight and Reform and the Committee on Natural Resources. Gosar is the second Republican to be ousted from committee duties recently, as earlier this year the House voted to remove Marjorie Taylor Greene from her committees, also due to her apparent endorsements of violence against her political rivals.
Several prominent Democrats, including AOC herself, have called for Gosar's total expulsion from Congress, but have settled for the resolution to censure. "Threatening the life of a colleague is grounds for expulsion," the House representative from New York said. "But given the Republican Party — especially the leader — is too cowardly to really enforce any standard of conduct ... censure and committee removal is the next most appropriate step." Ocasio-Cortez further reiterated her frustration with the behavior of other members of the Congress during the debate for the resolution, saying, "What I believe is unprecedented is for a member of House leadership of either party to be unable to condemn incitement of violence against a member of this body... What is so hard about saying that this is wrong?... [Republicans] are essentially using a national platform to legitimize threats of violence on lower levels, and on the local levels, to intimidate people from participating in our democracy. I believe this is part of a concerted strategy."
Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy pushed back against any repercussions for Gosar. "He didn't see it before it posted. It was not his intent to show any harm," McCarthy told reporters earlier. "What I said to conference was [we] cannot accept any action or showing of a violence to another member." In his own defense, Gosar said, "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." In an earlier statement, Gosar explained his rationale for posting the video, but stopped short of issuing a formal apology. During the debates, many Republicans spoke out in defense of Gosar, admitting that while the video was in poor taste, they felt it did not constitute a threat of violence or an action worthy of censure. Many Republicans also accused the Democrats of using the video as a way of distracting the public and the press from other issues. Wyoming Representative Liz Cheney was one of only two Republicans to vote yes for the resolution and break the otherwise partisan vote, saying Gosar's actions were "indefensible."