Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) delivered a scathing speech on the House floor Wednesday calling out Republicans for their resistance to punishing Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) over the video he posted depicting him killing her.
Ocasio-Cortez spoke ahead of the House votes on whether to formally censure Gosar ― a primarily symbolic but harsh gesture meant to dishonor a lawmaker ― and to strip him of his two committee assignments. In her remarks, she slammed House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and other party leaders for worrying about the precedent such an action might set.
“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,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
“It is a sad day in which a member who leads a political party in the United States of America cannot bring themselves to say that issuing a depiction of murdering a member of Congress is wrong and instead decides to venture off into a tangent about gas prices and inflation,” she continued, referring to McCarthy’s earlier remarks.
“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.”
– Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
“What is so hard?” she asked. “What is so hard about saying that this is wrong?”
At issue is Gosar tweeting out an edited anime video last week that showed him swinging swords at both Ocasio-Cortez and President Joe Biden. In one scene, a figure depicting Gosar slashes the neck of the one depicting Ocasio-Cortez and kills her.
If the House votes to censure Gosar, who has been linked to white nationalist and other extremist groups, it will be the first time in over a decade the House has taken such an action. Ocasio-Cortez supports the censuring, but told reporters Tuesday: “I think that in a perfect world, he would be expelled.”
Gosar denies the video could have caused any harm, saying it’s merely “a symbolic cartoon … not real life,” and he has attempted to turn the matter into a free speech issue.
Ocasio-Cortez dismissed that Wednesday.
“As leaders in this country, when we incite violence with depictions against our colleagues, that trickles down into violence in this country,” she said. “And that is where we must draw the line, independent of party identity or belief. It’s about a core recognition of human dignity and value.”
If the House votes in favor of doing so, Gosar will be stripped of his roles on the House Oversight and Reform Committee, which Ocasio-Cortez also serves on, and the Natural Resources Committee.