Today, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to censure Rep. Paul Gosar, a conservative Arizona Republican. The resolution of censure also removes Gosar from his assignments on the House Oversight and Reform Committee and the House Natural Resources Committee.
The vote was 223 to 207. According to the Washington Post’s report, Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger voted in favor of the resolution. Rep. David Joyce voted “present.”
Gosar was censured for tweeting out an anime-style cartoon which, at one point in the 90 second video, depicts him killing Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and physically attacking Joe Biden.
Gosar has said that the video was meant to be a “symbolic cartoon” and that he does not “espouse violence or harm towards any Member of Congress or Mr. Biden.” He also pointed out that he took the tweet down. He never apologized.
It’s good to know that Gosar doesn’t espouse violence or harm towards members of Congress or Joe Biden. If he did espouse these things, he would deserve more than censure.
But a video depicting one member of Congress killing another member seems like good grounds for censure. I wish more Republicans had seen it that way and voted accordingly.
Democrats cited the events of January 6 in support of their resolution. They claimed the rioting that day shows that violent rhetoric like Gosar’s can cause real threats against lawmakers, particularly female legislators. That might be true if you remove the part singling out females. But in my view, censuring Gosar would be appropriate even if the storming of the Capitol had never occurred.
I disagree, however, with stripping Gosar of his committee assignments. I agree with Rep. Tom Cole, who said:
Throughout the history of the House of Representatives, the majority and minority have respected the right of each of their conferences to assign their respective members to committees. [The resolution] continues to set an extremely. . .dangerous precedent for future Congresses.
The Democrats are very likely to lose their House majority a year from now. By 2023, Republicans will be able to cite Gosar’s deprivation of committee assignments as precedent for removing radicals like Ocasio-Cortez from committee assignments for their misconduct.
Unless Kathy Griffin gets elected to Congress, I don’t expect House Dems, even the “squad” members, to post videos like Gosar’s. But what about the next time Rep. Ilhan Omar indulges in anti-Semitic rhetoric?
In 2019, the House “condemned” her in a resolution for such rhetoric. Republicans wanted to censure her, but didn’t have the votes.
By 2023, they probably will. Why, given what happened to Gosar, wouldn’t they also remove her from committee assignments?