Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar was censured by the House of Representatives after tweeting an anime video that illustrated a character that looked like him killing another character that was meant to look like New York Congresswoman, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC). The video was viewed over 2.6 million times. The vote made by the House of Representatives made it the first time in 10 years for a sitting House member to be censured. It was also approved to strip Gosar’s two committee assignments. Taking away a member of committee assignment means not allowing them to have a powerful platform to impact legislation and give expression to constituent priorities.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez gave a speech saying “As leaders in this country, when we incite violence with depictions against our colleagues, that trickles down into violence in this country” she added, calling the incident an example of misogyny and racist misogyny. She then added, “This is not about me. This is not about Representative Gosar…This is about what we are willing to accept. What is so hard about saying that this is wrong?”
Women in U.S politics have been more exposed to threats since Trump normalized misogyny by name calling women “fat,” “ugly,” and making comments such as “grab them by the…” This type of propaganda not only insinuates hate and violence, but it is fundamentally about normalizing violence towards female politicians.
House speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House “cannot have members joking about murdering each other or threatening the president of the United States.”
With the House’s final vote at 223 to 207 with all Democrats and Republicans with only two voting in favor, Congresswoman Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Congressman Adam Kinzinger of Illinois. The resolution from the House approves that Gosar will be removed from the House Oversight and Reform Committee where Ocasio-Cortez also works. Republican Jim McGovern, who is chair of the House Rules Committee, said, “When a member uses taxpayer money to produce a video encouraging violence against another member, they should lose the privilege of serving on a committee.” After facing criticism by the public, the tweet was taken down by Gosar. Democrats condemned Gosar for targeting Ocasio-Cortez, but he did not issue an apology to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for the video. Gosar insisted that this was a distraction from the immigration policy and denied that the video was threatening and dangerous as tensions between Democrats and Republicans in Congress continue to rise.