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Democrats move to censure GOP Rep. Paul Gosar over violent anime video

The Arizona Republican this week posted an edited anime video depicting him killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and attacking President Joe Biden.
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A group of House Democrats said Wednesday that they plan to introduce a resolution to censure Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., for posting an edited animated video that depicts him killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and attacking President Joe Biden.

Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., a co-chair of the Democratic Women's Caucus, was joined by nine other lawmakers in a joint statement announcing their plans to file the censure resolution Friday.

"For a Member of Congress to post a manipulated video on his social media accounts depicting himself killing Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and attacking President Biden is a clear cut case for censure," the lawmakers said. "For that Member to post such a video on his official Instagram account and use his official congressional resources in the House of Representatives to further violence against elected officials goes beyond the pale."

Gosar shared an altered video on his official social media channels Sunday evening in which he and other Republican lawmakers are depicted as heroes from the Japanese anime series "Attack on Titan." The faces of Ocasio-Cortez and Biden were superimposed on the show's villains. Twitter added a warning label to Gosar's tweet later.

Censure is considered the harshest form of punishment in the House after expulsion. It requires a floor vote and a simple majority to pass. Nearly two dozen lawmakers have been censured by the House since 1832. The most recent was former Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., who was censured in a 333-79 vote in 2010 for ethics violations.

Gosar did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday. In a statement Tuesday, he did not apologize for the video and pushed back against the criticism.

"It is a symbolic cartoon. It is not real life. Congressman Gosar cannot fly. The hero of the cartoon goes after the monster, the policy monster of open borders. I will always fight to defend the rule of law, securing our borders, and the America First agenda," he said.

The video is no longer on Gosar's Twitter or Instagram pages.

Wednesday's statement from House Democrats also chided House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., who has not publicly commented on the video.

"As the events of January 6th have shown, such vicious and vulgar messaging can and does foment actual violence. Violence against women in politics is a global phenomenon meant to silence women and discourage them from seeking positions of authority and participating in public life, with women of color disproportionately impacted," the Democratic lawmakers said. "Minority Leader McCarthy's silence is tacit approval and just as dangerous."

McCarthy's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has recommended scrutiny of Gosar's actions by the House Ethics Committee and federal law enforcement. The House Democratic Policy and Communications Committee has called for an ethics investigation.