Censure Is “Not Enough”: Rights Groups Call for Expulsion of Paul Gosar

“Censure is important but not enough,” said a leader at women’s rights group UltraViolet on Wednesday after the U.S. House of Representatives voted to censure Rep. Paul Gosar over an animated video he posted depicting the murder of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and violence against President Joe Biden.

“Anyone who shares content of themselves murdering a coworker on social media would be fired without hesitation in any other workplace,” said Bridget Todd, communications director at UltraViolet. “There should be no difference in Congress.”

The Arizona Republican’s violent video has spurred widespead backlash and 15,000 people have signed a petition organized by UltraViolet urging Gosar’s expulsion from Congress.

The House voted to censure the congressman in a vote of 216 to 203, stripping him of his positions on the Committee on Oversight and Reform and the Committee on Natural Resources.

Many members took to the House floor to express their condemnation of Gosar’s actions, including Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).

“Rep. Gosar’s tweets depicting the murder of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and violence against President Biden are horrific. Social media platforms are often toxic places for women of color as is,” said Todd. “Rep. Gosar’s perpetuation of violence against Rep. Ocasio-Cortez on Twitter merely adds fuel to an already raging fire of promoting violence against women on social media.”

Rights group Common Cause is also calling for the removal of Gosar from office and sent a letter to every member of the House on Wednesday demanding his expulsion and a more extensive investigation into his conduct.

The letter lambasted the Arizona congressman’s actions as “reprehensible” and warned that “dangerous and incendiary social media posts like Rep. Gosar’s can spur real-world violence.”

“You must reject the normalization of political violence and threats and recognize them as the extreme dangers to our democratic institutions and ideals,” wrote Common Cause president Karen Hobert Flynn.

After the vote, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, applauded the House decision, saying: “Today’s vote to censure Congressman Gosar and remove him from serving on committees is an essential first step towards accountability. Rep. Gosar’s unacceptable behavior cannot be met with silence as he explicitly invokes and threatens violence against a fellow member of Congress and the president of the United States.”

This post has been updated with comment from Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.).