A group of House Democrats on Friday introduced a resolution to censure GOP Rep. Paul Gosar for posting a cartoon video that depicted him killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and swinging swords at President Joe Biden.
The motion was introduced by Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., a co-chair of the Democratic Women’s Caucus, and nine other lawmakers. They group said such violent images increase threats against elected officials in the wake of the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump.
“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,” the group of House Democrats said in a Wednesday statement announcing their plans to introduce the motion.
“As the events of January 6th have shown, such vicious and vulgar messaging can and does foment actual violence,” they continued.
Censure is the second harshest form of punishment in the House short of expulsion, and requires a simple majority in a floor vote to pass. Twenty-three lawmakers have been censured by the House since 1832.
It would require Gosar, an Arizona Republican, to stand in the center of the House chamber as the resolution condemning his conduct is read aloud.
The edited video was shared on Gosar’s official social media channels Sunday evening.
It featured a scene from the Japanese anime series “Attack on Titan,” with Gosar’s face edited onto a character bearing two swords and subsequently attacking giant characters superimposed with Ocasio-Cortez and Biden’s faces. The video also included images of Border Patrol officers with migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The video, which was posted on Gosar’s official Instagram and Twitter accounts, has since been deleted.
Gosar faced sharp criticism for the posts. He released a statement Tuesday that confirmed his office produced the video and accused detractors of “gross mischaracterization.”
“I do not espouse violence or harm towards any Member of Congress or Mr. Biden,” Gosar said in the statement
He added that the video “symbolizes the battle for the soul of America” when Congress takes up the president’s economic package, which he said includes immigration provisions he opposes.
“This video is truly a symbolic portrayal of a fight over immigration policy,” Gosar said in the statement.
“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,” he continued.
House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy has so far been silent on the matter, despite Democratic calls for action.
The group of House Democrats who introduced the resolution condemned McCarthy’s silence, calling it “tacit approval and just as dangerous” in a statement.
Pelosi also urged McCarthy to condemn the video and asked the “Ethics Committee and law enforcement to investigate.”
“Threats of violence against Members of Congress and the President of the United States must not be tolerated,” Pelosi said in a Twitter post Tuesday.
Ocasio-Cortez responded to Gosar’s video on Monday, saying a “creepy member” of the House had “shared a fantasy video of him killing me” and tagging McCarthy in a Twitter post.
“And he’ll face no consequences bc @GOPLeader cheers him on with excuses,” she said in the Twitter post.
McCarthy’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.