Former President Donald Trump has endorsed Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) a day after the congressman was censured for posting an edited anime video that violently targeted Democratic leaders.
What happened: On Nov. 7, Gosar, who has served Arizona’s 4th District since 2013, posted an edited intro of the anime “Attack on Titan” which depicted him killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and attacking President Joe Biden. This led to a censure resolution that essentially disables him from becoming a voice for his constituents at the House of Representatives.
The censure resolution, which was passed last Wednesday, is the most severe form of punishment in the House besides expulsion. It warrants a public reprimand and strips the member in question of committee assignments. In the case of Gosar, these include the House Oversight and Reform Committee and the House Natural Resources Committee. This is the first time in more than 10 years that a sitting representative has been censured, according to CNN.
In the video, Ocasio-Cortez dies after being slashed in the nape by a sword-wielding Gosar. Ahead of the vote, she asked the House floor, as per The Hill: “What is so hard about saying that this is wrong? This is not about me. This is not about Rep. Gosar. But this is about what we are willing to accept.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi denounced Gosar’s actions as “workplace harassment and violence against women” and condemned Republican leadership for failing to set Gosar straight. “These actions demand a response,” Pelosi said, as per CBS News. “We cannot have a member joking about murdering each other or threatening the president of the United States. This is both an endangerment of our elected officials and an insult to the institution of the House of Representatives.”
The House ultimately voted 223-207, with all 221 Democrats and two Republicans ― Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois and Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming ― agreeing to censure Gosar. Rep. David Joyce (R-Ohio) voted present, which meant he was not taking any position. House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy accused Democrats of hypocrisy. Republican colleagues who defended Gosar included Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), who downplayed “Attack on Titan” as “highly-stylized violence,” and Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), who took a jab at Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) for allegedly sleeping with a suspected Chinese spy.
Gosar, for his part, deleted the video he had posted on Twitter and Instagram. After the vote, he compared himself to Alexander Hamilton, the first person the House had attempted to censure.
In a statement published to his website, he also likened his situation to the 2015 killing of the staff of French magazine Charlie Hebdo over their publishing of a cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammed: “I remind everyone that pretending to be upset over a cartoon and wanting to suppress the ideas in a cartoon is what happened to the Charlie Hebdo magazine in France. All right-thinking people condemned that then, and they should condemn the Democrats now for their violation of free speech.”
What Trump is saying: Trump endorsed Gosar a day after the censure resolution was passed, calling him a “congressman highly respected in Arizona.” The endorsement comes as Trump attempts to boost Republican candidates for upcoming midterm elections.
“Congressman Paul Gosar has been a loyal supporter of our America First agenda, and even more importantly, the USA. Paul is a Congressman who is highly respected in Arizona, strong on Crime, Borders, our Military, and our Veterans,” Trump said in a statement. “He continually fights for Lower Taxes, Less Regulations, and our great, but under siege, Second Amendment. Paul Gosar has my Complete and Total Endorsement!”
Gosar accepted the former president’s endorsement in a quote tweet. “Thank you President Trump for this honor. I am humbled to have earned your support, and the support of the American people. Our struggle to return this nation to greatness is more daunting than ever with the current Administration. Together we will save America,” he wrote.
Gosar has no plans of apologizing. In a statement to Fox News, he described the events leading up to his censure as “100% partisan” and reflective of the ongoing “culture war.”
“I have received overwhelming support from Republican colleagues, including Leader McCarthy, for which I am incredibly grateful,” Gosar told the outlet. “In this instance, we did not back down, and we had nothing to apologize for. I put Republicans in a great position nationally as fighters, instead of capitulators. The response from conservatives has been overwhelmingly supportive and the people appreciate members who stand up and fight for what is right.”
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