This week, Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) — an ally of ex-President Trump — tweeted an edited, partly animated video that depicted him killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). The video led to understandable outrage from observers — except from prominent voices on the Right such as House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who hadn’t even spoken out regarding the video at all as of early Tuesday. In contrast, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called for an investigation of Gosar to be conducted by both law enforcement and the House Ethics Committee.
The video also depicts Gosar waving swords at President Joe Biden. Gosar can claim that the imagery was merely a (demented) joke all that he wants, but how far is he willing to go in the name of these twisted “jokes”? And who among his followers might be interested in taking his “jokes” as a green light to commit real-world violence? Pelosi commented as follows:
‘Threats of violence against Members of Congress and the President of the United States must not be tolerated. [McCarthy] should join in condemning this horrific video and call on the Ethics Committee and law enforcement to investigate.’
Threats of violence against Members of Congress and the President of the United States must not be tolerated. @GOPLeader should join in condemning this horrific video and call on the Ethics Committee and law enforcement to investigate. https://t.co/qX8kMbiZ8n
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) November 9, 2021
No matter the disturbing nature of the video that Gosar posted, there’s no particularly compelling sign that Republican leaders in Congress will take any kind of substantive action against him. After social media activity re-emerged indicating past support for executions of prominent Democrats on the part of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), it fell to the full House (rather than Republicans) to take action in the form of voting Greene out of her committee assignments. The House Republican caucus seemed prepared to let Greene skate by without consequence, as though threats of violence against government leaders are a-okay.
Ocasio-Cortez herself spoke out after Gosar’s video went up. She condemned both those among GOP leaders who have enabled his antics and Gosar himself. As she put it, in part:
‘So while I was en route to Glasgow, a creepy member I work with who fundraises for Neo-Nazi groups shared a fantasy video of him killing me. And he’ll face no consequences [because] [McCarthy] cheers him on with excuses. Fun Monday! Well, back to work [because] institutions don’t protect [women of color]… This dude is… just a collection of wet toothpicks anyway. White supremacy is for extremely fragile people & sad men like him, whose self concept relies on the myth that he was born superior because deep down he knows he couldn’t open a pickle jar or read a whole book by himself.’
One prominent Republican who did speak out was Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.), who said in part that the ‘“arm-pit farting” of our politics is why we are failing the people.’
This will continue. Of course @gop and @GOPLeader can condemn this proactively (not some sidestepping comment when asked about it.). They won’t. The “arm-pit farting” of our politics is why we are failing the people. https://t.co/JYwc5gG96B
— Adam Kinzinger (@AdamKinzinger) November 9, 2021