US House to vote to censure Republican who tweeted violent video featuring Democrat

Paul Gosar posted anime video showing him killing Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

The US House of Representatives will vote on Wednesday on a resolution to censure a Republican member for a Twitter post depicting himself killing a prominent progressive and attacking President Joe Biden with swords, a congressional source said.

Prominent Republicans criticised the Democratic move to discipline Paul Gosar of Arizona for the video, even as some suggested they strip another Republican of his seat on a prominent House committee for his vote this month in favour of a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill.

The vote is in response to Mr Gosar posting an anime video this month that showed him killing Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the latest instance of escalating violent rhetoric in Congress, 10 months after thousands of Donald Trump supporters launched a deadly assault on the Capitol.

A source familiar with the Wednesday plan said it would also remove Mr Gosar from the Committee on Oversight, where Ms Ocasio-Cortez also serves.

“Not talking,” Mr Gosar told reporters on Tuesday. He said last week he would fight for Mr Trump's “America First agenda".

Some Republicans rejected the calls to punish Mr Gosar.

“That's a dangerous road to go down,” Chip Roy said.

House Democrats stripped firebrand Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene of her committee assignments this year for incendiary remarks that included support for violence against Democrats.

But top House Republican Kevin McCarthy has not taken action to punish his own members.

Republicans say Democrats have gone unpunished for inflammatory rhetoric that they blame for antiracism protests in US cities in 2020. Some said there could be consequences for Democrats if Republicans retake the House majority in 2022.

“It's unfortunate that Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi and the Democrats in the majority have decided to set precedents that will reverberate throughout the fabric of this House for decades to come,” Republican Rodney Davis said.

At the same time, some Republicans called for John Katko to be removed as top Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee for backing the infrastructure bill, which was opposed by House Republican leaders and Mr Trump.

House Republicans have struggled internally since the January 6 Capitol riot, which prompted 10 members of Congress, including Mr Katko and Liz Cheney, to vote for Mr Trump's second impeachment.

Ms Cheney was ousted as House Republican conference chair in May and Wyoming Republican leaders voted last weekend to no longer recognise her as a party member, a report in The Casper Star-Tribune said.

Mr Katko was one of 13 House Republicans who backed the infrastructure legislation, a bipartisan measure that had passed the Senate with support from 19 Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

He appeared undaunted by the criticism.

“I'm focused on securing our border, supporting law enforcement and stopping Democrats' reckless spending in the Build Back Better Act. Our conference is united behind these efforts. I intend to continue leading on them,” Mr Katko said in a statement emailed to Reuters.

At a Tuesday party meeting, Mr McCarthy urged members not to seek punishment against Mr Katko and the other 12 House Republicans, a person familiar with the discussion said.

But conservatives singled Mr Katko out for helping House Democratic leaders pass the bill over opposition from progressives in a 228-206 vote on November 6.

“If you take leadership responsibility, now you're no longer just representing your district. You're also representing your conference,” said David Schweikert.

Mr Roy and Mr Schweikert belong to the hard-line House Freedom Caucus. Ms Greene, another Freedom Caucus member, branded the 13 Republicans “traitors” on Twitter.

Some of the 13 have faced death threats over the infrastructure vote.

Updated: November 17th 2021, 4:28 AM
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