House of Representatives sanctions Paul Gosar, an elected Republican who targeted Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

“When they go low, we go high” (“When they sink, we rise”, in French): this slogan launched by Michelle obama at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia in July 2016, summed up the Democrats’ approach to Donald Trump.

Five years later, it is clear that the formula remains a wishful thinking in American political life. The House of Representatives, where the Democrats have a majority of 221 of the 435 seats, sanctioned by 223 votes – including that of Republicans Adam Kinzinger and Liz Chenezy – and 207 against, Wednesday, November 17, an elected Republican for posting a video targeting the elected Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and President Joe Biden.

Paul Gosar, Arizona Republican elected to the US Congress, is one of Donald Trump’s fervent supporters. He is among 147 elected officials who voted against certifying Mr Biden’s election and questioned whether the policeman who shot rioter Ashli ​​Babbitt on Capitol Hill on January 6 acted in accordance with the rules of his work, in contrast to the findings of the Capitol Police’s internal investigation. He also borrows from the former US president his sense of invective and his slippages in political discourse.

November 7, he published on his social networks (Twitter and Instagram) a video from the Japanese animated series The attack of the Titans, in which he fights the “titans” – the enemy – alongside Republican elected officials Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert. In one passage, he kills Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), a leading figure in the left wing of the Democratic Party, and attacks President Joe Biden with his sword.

“A creepy individual I work alongside [au sein du Comité de surveillance et de réforme] and who raises funds for neo-Nazi groups [Paul Gosar a participé à une levée de fonds organisée cet été par l’activiste d’extrême droite Nick Fuentes] shared a whimsical video in which he kills me. And he will not suffer any consequences, because [Kevin McCarthy, le chef des Républicains à la Chambre] encourages him and finds excuses for him ”, lamented AOC by discovering the video.

“There is absolutely no place (…) for violence, whatever it is, in [notre] Political system “, condemned Karine Jean-Pierre, deputy spokesperson for the White House, two days after the publication of the video. Twitter said the video violated its rules on hateful conduct but did not delete it, adding “That it may be in the public interest to keep the tweet accessible.” ” Instagram accompanied her with the mention “Sensitive content”.

Mr. Gosar’s teams have deleted messages of its various accounts. He then published a press release claiming that his video was not intended to stir up violence, instead calling it “Symbolic representation of a fight against immigration policy” of the Biden administration. Finally, in an email mentioned in particular by CNN, Paul Gosar went so far as to compare himself to … the drafting of Charlie hebdo : he presented himself as a victim, “Punished for having published a cartoon”.

Two elected Republican censored in a few months

On Wednesday, Congress therefore sanctioned him by approving a motion inflicting official censure, a rare procedure, the most severe to which elected officials can be subjected in the House of Representatives. He was also suspended from the two commissions of which he is a member: the Monitoring and Reform Committee and the Natural Resources Committee.

The “Leadership of the Republican Party did not condemn the threats of violence made by Representative Gosar against the President of the United States and another member of Congress”, wrote the 60 deputies who filed the resolution to justify the procedure. These elected officials believe that “Violence against women in politics is a global phenomenon intended to silence and discourage them from seeking positions of power and participating in public life, as women of color are disproportionately affected”.

But this censorship will have no practical effect, except that of marking the career of the chosen one with a seal of infamy. The Constitution allows both chambers of Congress to sanction their members (article I, clause 5, section II), but the expulsion of one of them requires a two-thirds majority to pass. This procedure has only been used twenty times in history, explained the CNN channel, in February.

The last censure resolution was approved in 2010 and concerned Democratic Representative Charles Rangel, former chairman of the powerful House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee, for financial mismanagement. In February 2021, Georgia’s Trumpist MP Marjorie Taylor Greene, who had shared conspiracy theories, was ousted from her seat on the education and budget committees by 230 votes in favor and 199 against. This allowed her to consolidate her image of implacable opponent and to obtain substantial fundraising for its campaigns.

Before it was sanctioned, Kevin McCarthy had warned Democrats against the double-edged sword that this procedure represented. If ever the Republicans regained the majority in the House, during the mid-term elections scheduled for November 2022, they would not hesitate to use it, in turn, against elected Democrats. Mr McCarthy recalled this on Wednesday evening after calling the vote” abuse of power “ intended to distract from national issues.

The Democrats assure them that there was nothing political in this vote. “These actions demand a response. We can’t have MPs joking about murdering others ”, said Democratic Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi. “It is both endangering our elected officials and an insult to the institution. “

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