“This does not apply to me … This is what we are prepared to accept,” says Congressman Alexandrio Ocasio-Cortez.
The U.S. House of Representatives officially voted to reprimand Republican Congressman Paul Gosar for tweeting an animated video of him meeting progressive Congressman Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez.
In a vote on Wednesday 223-207, largely on the party line, Parliament condemned Gosar and denied him two positions on the congressional committee. One member voted “present” against the resolution.
“This does not apply to me. This does not apply to Mr Gosar. But this is what we are prepared to accept,” Ocasio-Cortez said before the vote.
He condemned Republicans who supported Gosar because he had not condemned the “incitement to violence” against a member of the U.S. Congress.
A video section of Gosar’s tweet last week depicted his face on the head of an anime character hitting another character with Ocasio-Cortez’s face with a sword around his neck. The video also shows Gosar waving two swords at President Joe Biden.
It starts with real footage of migrants crossing the southern U.S. border and ends with the flag of Arizona, where the Gosar district is located.
On Wednesday, Gosar, a staunch supporter of former President Donald Trump, saw the comic as a mere statement against illegal immigration and denied allegations of violence or intimidation.
“If I have to join Alexander Hamilton, who is the first person Parliament tried to condemn, so be it,” he said in the House.
Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy came to defend Gosar and pointed out that the congressman removed the video. He accused Democrats of abusing his power as a majority.
“For Democrats, this vote is not about video; it’s about control,” McCarthy said.
Several Republican members admitted the video was inappropriate, but said it did not pose a threat. Others accused Democrats of using the episode to distract their attention from real problems, including rising inflation and the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan.
The motion of censure by Congress is symbolic, but it expresses strong and formal condemnation of lawmakers. The last time U.S. lawmakers criticized their colleagues in 2010 was when they took action against New York Democrat Charles Rangel for ethical violations.
A motion of censure requires a simple majority. The removal of a member from Congress requires a two-thirds majority.
Earlier this year, the House of Representatives removed Republican Congressman Marjorie Taylor Greene from committee committees for offensive social media publications that promoted unfounded conspiracy theories and attacked Democrats.
On Wednesday, many Democrats referred to the January 6 riots at the Capitol – when Trump supporters rushed to Congress in protest of lawmakers ’efforts to strengthen Biden’s victory – to highlight the link between rhetoric and real violence.
“When members of Congress and other elected officials speak and act, our voters and followers give great weight to our words and deeds,” said Steny Hoyer, leader of the majority.
Earlier this year, Gosar condemned the Ministry of Justice’s efforts to investigate and prosecute participants suspected of the Capitol riots and called them “peaceful patriots.”