US House censures Republican who shared video threatening congresswoman's death

Video tweeted by representative Paul Gosar also showed swordfight with President Joe Biden

The US House of Representatives voted on Wednesday to censure Republican Paul Gosar after he shared a violent video depicting the murder of fellow member of Congress Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Two Republicans joined all Democrats to approve the resolution. One Republican voted "present".

The move is the most severe punishment the House can mete out other than expulsion, and censuring Mr Gosar also strips him of his committee assignments, among which are his seats on the House Oversight and Natural Resources Committees.

Ms Ocasio-Cortez spoke on the House floor before the vote.

“What is so hard? What is so hard about saying this is wrong?” asked Ms Ocasio-Cortez during a debate on whether to censure Mr Gosar.

“This is not about me. This is not about Representative Gosar. This is about what we are willing to accept.”

Mr Gosar, who represents Arizona's fourth district, this month tweeted an anime video that showed him killing Ms Ocasio-Cortez and attacking President Joe Biden with swords. The post has since been deleted.

“Disguising death threats against a member of Congress and a president of the United States in an animated video does not make those death threats any less real or less serious,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on the floor.

The situation comes 10 months after a deadly attack on the US Capitol on January 6, when supporters of former president Donald Trump tried to overturn the results of the 2020 election in which he was defeated.

Members of Congress were told to shelter in place while rioters searched the Capitol building for those they deemed responsible for the “fraudulent” election results.

“Our work here matters, our example matters. There is meaning in our service,” Ms Ocasio-Cortez continued.

“And as leaders in this country, when we incite violence with depictions against our colleagues, that trickles down into violence in this country. And that is where we must draw the line.”

Mr Gosar spoke briefly during the debate but did not apologise for tweeting the video.

“No threat was intended by my staff or me,” he said, without referring to Ms Ocasio-Cortez or Mr Biden.

Mr Gosar is the second member of Congress to be stripped of his committee assignments this year.

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

“What I believe is unprecedented is for a member of House leadership of either party to be unable to condemn incitement of violence against a member of this body,” Ms Ocasio-Cortez said.

Agencies contributed to this report

Updated: November 17th 2021, 9:39 PM
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