WASHINGTON, Nov 12 (Reuters) – Congressional Democrats on Friday introduced a motion to censure Republican Representative Paul Gosar on Friday over a cartoon video that depicted him killing Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and swinging swords at President Joe Biden.
Democrats backing the measure said that violent images like those in the video increase threats against elected officials after the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump.
The resolution, backed by 60 House Democrats, calls for Gosar to stand in the House chamber while the censure is read. It is unclear whether House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would bring the measure up for a vote.
A censure is a symbolic reprimand that carries no fines or other penalties. However, it could be awkward for Gosar’s fellow Republicans, who would have to go on record condemning him or supporting his actions. House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy has so far been silent, despite Democratic calls for action.
At least 23 lawmakers have faced censure in the House, typically for issues of decorum or financial misconduct.
Gosar, who shared the 90-second video on Sunday, has remained defiant since, saying on Tuesday he would fight for “the America First agenda” of former President Donald Trump.
Pelosi has urged ethics and law enforcement investigations into the matter. Under House rules, ethics violations can result in reprimands, fines, censure or removal from office. Threats can also constitute felony violations punishable by imprisonment.
The video appears to be an altered version of a Japanese animated series. Twitter added a warning label to the video, saying it violated its “hateful conduct” policy, and also restricted engagement with the tweet. But the social media giant said in a notification attached above the tweet that it had determined “it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible.” (Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Andy Sullivan and Alistair Bell)