House plans to vote Wednesday to censure Paul Gosar and strip him of committee assignments


US Rep. Paul Gosar (L), R-AZ, speaks during a press conference on January 7, 2016 to announce legislation that would revoke actor Bill Cosby’s Medal of Freedom on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The move for the legislation comes after Cosby was charged with sexual assault following a series of rape allegations. AFP PHOTO/MANDEL NGAN / AFP / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Annie Grayer, CNN

(CNN) — The House will vote Wednesday on a resolution that both censures Republican Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona and strips him of his two committee assignments.

A revised proposal released by the House Rules Committee on Tuesday night outlined that Democrats will seek to remove him from the Committee on Oversight and Reform, as well as the House Committee on Natural Resources.

Gosar is facing censure for his posting of a photoshopped anime video to his Twitter and Instagram accounts showing him appearing to kill Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and attacking President Joe Biden.

Gosar, who later took down the video after facing criticism but did not apologize, sits on the Oversight Committee alongside Ocasio-Cortez.

A censure resolution is the most severe form of punishment in the House, and requires the censured member to stand in the well of the House while the resolution is read out loud. The last lawmaker to be censured was then-Rep. Charlie Rangel, a New York Democrat, for multiple ethics violations back in 2010.

Ahead of the vote on Wednesday being announced, Gosar refused to answer any questions about his tweet of the violent video, walking in silence. He wouldn’t say if he regretted it or explain the claim he made internally that he didn’t see the violent episode in the video before he tweeted it out.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she was moving forward with the vote because Gosar “made threats, suggestions about harming a member of Congress.”

“That is an insult — not only endangerment of that member of Congress, but an insult to the institution of the House of Representatives,” Pelosi, a Democrat from California, said Tuesday on Capitol Hill. “We cannot have members joking about murdering each other, as well as threatening the President of the United States.”

The move to censure Gosar follows a lack of action from Republican leadership in the House. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who did not comment publicly on the Gosar episode until this week, noted that he had called the Arizona Republican after the tweet, who then deleted it, but he did not explicitly condemn Gosar’s behavior. McCarthy also said Gosar had explained his actions during a closed-door conference meeting on Tuesday morning, and his explanation was well received in the conference, according to attendees.

“He didn’t see it before it posted. It was not his intent to show any harm,” McCarthy told reporters. “What I said to conference was (we) cannot accept any action or showing of a violence to another member.”

Some Republicans have called out GOP leadership for not taking action, including Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, who said McCarthy’s inaction is “indefensible” — especially as Republicans call to punish the 13 GOP lawmakers who voted for a bipartisan infrastructure bill.

“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,” Cheney told CNN. “The notion that Leader McCarthy won’t full-on condemn what Paul Gosar did on multiple occasions but that he seems to be entertaining this move to push the 13 off of their committees, I mean, it’s indefensible, morally and ethically, and it’s crazy politically.”

This story has been updated with additional developments Tuesday.


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