WASHINGTON — The House will vote Wednesday on a resolution to censure Republican Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona for tweeting an animated video that depicted him striking Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., with a sword.
That’s according to a person familiar with the planning who was not authorized to discuss it publicly. The person also said the House would be voting on removing Gosar from one of his committee assignments. The censure resolution as drafted does not specify that punishment.
Gosar posted the video over a week ago with a note saying, “Any anime fans out there?” The roughly 90-second video was an altered version of a Japanese anime clip, interspersed with shots of Border Patrol officers and migrants at the southern U.S. border.
During one roughly 10-second section, animated characters whose faces had been replaced with Gosar and fellow Republican Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Lauren Boebert of Colorado were shown fighting other animated characters. In one scene, Gosar’s character is seen striking the one made to look like Ocasio-Cortez in the neck with a sword.
Democratic lawmakers have called the video “beyond the pale” and a said it was a “clear cut case for censure.”
Last week, Gosar issued a statement saying the video wasn’t meant to depict harm or violence, calling it instead “a symbolic portrayal of a fight over immigration policy.”
He told his House Republican colleagues during a private meeting Tuesday that he would never espouse violence or harm to anyone. Gosar noted that he took the video down from his account, according to a person in the room who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private meeting.
Ocasio-Cortez said Tuesday he has not apologized to her.
“It’s been well over a week. He not only has not apologized,” she said. “He not only has not made any sort of contact or outreach, neither he nor the Republican leader (Kevin) McCarthy, but he has also doubled down by saying that I am somehow, you know, representative of undocumented people.”
“In a perfect world, he’d be expelled,” she told reporters. “We are not in a perfect world, so censure and removal from committee I believe is appropriate.”
The resolution coming up for a vote states that depictions of violence can foment actual violence and jeopardize the safety of elected officials. It also cites the insurrection of the Capitol on Jan. 6 as an example. The resolution goes on to say that violence against women in politics is a global phenomenon meant to silence and discourage them from seeking positions of authority and participating in public life, with women of color disproportionately affected.
A censure resolution, if approved by a majority of the House, requires the censured lawmaker to stand in the well of the House as the resolution of censure is read aloud by the House speaker.
The House has censured its members on 23 occasions. The last censure resolution was approved in 2010 involving Democratic Rep. Charles Rangel, the former chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, for financial misconduct. The censure carries no practical effect, except to provide a historic footnote that marks a lawmaker’s career.
Associated Press staff writer Alan Fram contributed to this report.