House

Only two Republicans expected to back censuring Gosar

Only two Republicans, Reps. Liz Cheney (Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (Ill.), are expected to vote for a resolution on Wednesday to censure Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) and take away his committee seats for posting an anime video edited to depict him engaging in violence against top Democrats.

Censure is one of the harshest sanctions the House can take against one of its own members. Gosar will be forced to stand in the center of the House floor while the resolution is read aloud by the Speaker condemning him for the video, which showed him killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and swinging swords at President Biden.

So far, only Cheney and Kinzinger — who’ve frequently criticized their party for its continued embrace of former President Trump and accepted an invitation from Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to serve on the panel investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol — have signaled they’ll join Democrats in rebuking Gosar.

“We have to hold Members accountable who incite or glorify violence, who spread and perpetuate dangerous conspiracies. The failure to do so will take us one step closer to this fantasized violence becoming real,” Kinzinger tweeted on Tuesday. “To be clear, I’ll be voting yes on the Gosar censure resolution.”

Cheney also told The Associated Press last week that she supports censuring Gosar “for his continued indefensible activities.”

Gosar is the first House member to face censure since 2010, when former Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) was rebuked for a variety of ethics transgressions, including misusing congressional letterhead for fundraising and failing to pay taxes on a vacation home.

The resolution would further take away Gosar’s seats on the House Oversight and Reform and Natural Resources committees.

It would mark the second time this year that a House Republican has been kicked off committees. Back in February, Democrats — as well as 11 Republicans — voted to take away Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s (R-Ga.) committee assignments for her past embrace of conspiracy theories and apparent endorsements of violence against Democrats.

Kinzinger voted to remove Greene from committees, while Cheney — who was still serving as House GOP conference chair at the time — did not.

Other Republicans who’ve previously broken with their party have indicated they won’t vote to rebuke Gosar.

Some of those Republicans are currently under fire from the far right for backing the bipartisan infrastructure bill earlier this month and are trying to avoid further alienating their colleagues. 

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has urged Republicans to stay united and refrain from taking punitive action against each other, whether for Gosar promoting a video depicting political violence or for helping deliver a legislative victory for Biden.

During a closed-door House GOP conference meeting on Tuesday, Gosar told his fellow Republicans that he didn’t support political violence and claimed he hadn’t seen the video before it was posted to his official Twitter account.

“He came in today and apologized,” said Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.), one of the 13 Republicans who voted for the bipartisan infrastructure bill. “I’ll give him credit for that.”

Aides to Reps. John Katko (R-N.Y.) and Fred Upton (R-Mich.) — who both voted to impeach Trump, remove Greene from committees and for the bipartisan infrastructure bill — didn’t immediately respond when asked if they would vote to rebuke Gosar.

Rep. Dan Bishop (R-N.C.) filed a motion on Tuesday to oust Katko as the top Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee. McCarthy quickly referred the motion to the House GOP Steering Committee, which determines members’ committee assignments and could either refer it to the full GOP conference or ignore it.

Scott Wong contributed.

Tags Adam Kinzinger Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Censure Charlie Rangel Donald Trump Fred Upton Joe Biden John Katko Kevin McCarthy Liz Cheney Marjorie Taylor Greene Nancy Pelosi Paul Gosar

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