Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) issued a statement Tuesday night doubling down on a video he posted to Twitter depicting him murdering his colleague, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), and committing violence against President Joe Biden, saying the backlash he's received over the violent video is a "gross mischaracterization" of his intentions.
"I do not espouse violence or harm towards any Member of Congress or Mr. Biden," Gosar said in the statement posted to his congressional office website. "The video depicts the fight taking place next week on the House floor and symbolizes the battle for the soul of America when Congress takes up Mr. Biden's massive $4 trillion spending bill that includes amnesty for millions of illegal aliens already in our country and was not meant to depict any harm or violence against anyone portrayed in the anime. This video is truly a symbolic portrayal of a fight over immigration policy."
Twitter put a warning over the video created by Gosar's office, which depicted an altered anime scene in which Gosar kills Ocasio-Cortez with a sword and swings a sword at Biden.
Gosar's statement — which gives the incorrect price tag for Biden's second infrastructure package that seeks to provide funding for universal pre-K, expansions to Medicaid, and efforts to combat climate change — is unlikely to pacify Democrats, who are enraged that Gosar would post a violent video against their colleagues.
The video came at a time when threats against lawmakers are on the rise, especially in the wake of the Jan. 6 insurrection. NPR News reported in May that threats against lawmakers had doubled since 2020.
Since the release of the video, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called for an ethics investigation into Gosar.
"Threats of violence against Members of Congress and the President of the United States must not be tolerated," Pelosi tweeted on Tuesday. "@GOPLeader should join in condemning this horrific video and call on the Ethics Committee and law enforcement to investigate."
"You are a disgrace to the country and the Congress, @RepGosar," Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) tweeted. "I am genuinely ashamed to call you a colleague. Deal with this, @GOPLeader."
Instead, House Republicans seem more intent on punishing their fellow GOP lawmakers who voted for Biden's infrastructure bill that passed last week, which provides funding to repair roads and bridges, beef up public transportation, expand internet access to rural areas, and help fix dangerous water pipes that have caused lead poisoning in areas across the country.
"In today's Republican Party, you get cancelled for crossing party lines and applauded for publicly fantasizing about the murder of Democrats. WTF," Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) tweeted on Tuesday.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.