Just two Republican members of Congress voted in favour of a measure to censure far-right GOP Congressman Paul Gosar on Wednesday over his posting of a video depicting the animated murder of Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Reps Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, two GOPers who have bucked party leadership on issues ranging from the impeachment of former President Donald Trump to President Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill, voted in favour of the resolution to censure Mr Gosar and strip him of his committee membership.
A fellow Republican, Rep David Joyce, voted “present” on the resolution, but every other member of the GOP House caucus opposed it.
The pair excoriated Republican leadership over the last few days on the issue, especially aiming criticism at House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who is hoping to claim the speakership next year in a potential GOP takeover of the House.
“Our party needs a leader who is going to stand up for what's right and stand up for the truth, and stop trying to play these games,” said Ms Cheney.
Added Mr Kinzinger: "We have to hold Members accountable who incite or glorify violence, who spread and perpetuate dangerous conspiracies. The failure to do so will take us one step closer to this fantasized violence becoming real.”
The two were not the only Republicans to support either the infrastructure bill or the impeachment of Mr Trump, but Wednesday’s vote proved to be a greater source of GOP unity than either of those votes.
Mr Gosar remained adamant in his own remarks on Wednesday that the video was not meant to solicit or threaten violence against Ms Ocasio-Cortez, but did not apologise for posting it, merely stating that he removed it after criticism.
“I have said decisively there is no threat in the cartoon other than the threat that immigration poses to our country. And no threat was intended by my staff or me," he said during a brief floor speech.
Mr Gosar becomes the first member of the House to be censured since 2010, and only the 24th sitting member of the chamber to be censured in the body’s history.
The video he tweeted last week used a clip from the opening credits of the Netflix anime series Attack on Titan, edited to depict himself and fellow GOP members of Congress battling monsters with the faces of Ms Ocasio-Cortez and Mr Biden. At one moment in the video, Mr Gosar’s character kills the character bearing Ms Ocasio-Cortez’s face.
The Arizona congressman has also been scrutinised over connections to white nationalist groups and figures, faces calls for his expulsion from the chamber as well, though such a move is rare and unlikely to be taken up by House leadership.
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