By Moira Warburton and David Morgan
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives was poised to punish a Republican lawmaker on Wednesday over an anime video that depicted him killing progressive Democrat Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and swinging two swords at President Joe Biden.
The House was slated to vote on a resolution to censure Representative Paul Gosar and strip him of two congressional committee assignments – a move likely to draw only a smattering of support from Republicans who have largely decried the Democrats’ action as partisan politics.
Gosar posted an anime video https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-congress-gosar/u-s-democrats-move-to-censure-republican-gosar-for-violent-video-idUSKBN2HX1UV this month that showed him killing Ocasio-Cortez. It was the latest instance of escalating violent rhetoric in Congress, 10 months after thousands of supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol as lawmakers prepared to certify his election defeat.
Gosar, a staunch Trump ally and hardline conservative, removed the video from Twitter and Instagram but has offered no apology to Ocasio-Cortez, according to the Democratic lawmaker.
A 62-year-old Arizona Republican, Gosar described the Trump followers who assaulted the Capitol as “peaceful patriots”, voted against finalizing Biden’s 2020 election victory in January and backed Trump’s claims of a stolen election.
If the censure measure were adopted, Gosar would be required to stand in the well of the House while the resolution is read. He would also be ejected from the House Natural Resources Committee and the House Oversight and Reform Committee, where he serves alongside Ocasio-Cortez.
Democrats say the action is necessary because House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy has refused to discipline Gosar.
Democrat Majority Whip James Clyburn told CNN on Wednesday that he thought the House should be voting to expel Gosar, but that such a decision was the responsibility of Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
House Republican leaders were recommending but not requiring their members vote no on the motion, according to a source familiar with the matter.
The resolution is expected to draw support from at least two Republicans who oppose Trump: Representatives Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, who both sit on a House panel investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
House Democrats stripped firebrand Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-congress-republicans/u-s-house-punishes-republican-congresswoman-over-incendiary-remarks-idUSKBN2A42IF of her committee assignments this year for incendiary remarks that included support for violence against Democrats.
The last time a U.S. House member was censured was 2010, when the action was taken against then-Democratic Representative Charles Rangel after he was found guilty of several ethics violations, including improper fundraising and inaccurate financial disclosure reports and federal tax returns.
(Reporting by David Morgan and Moira WarburtonEditing by Scott Malone and Mark Heinrich)