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Rep. Paul Gosar is censured over an anime video depicting him of killing AOC

NOEL KING, HOST:

The House of Representatives has censured Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar. He tweeted an anime-style video that showed a character that looks like him killing another character meant to be New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Here's NPR's Barbara Sprunt.

BARBARA SPRUNT, BYLINE: The blowback was swift. During the floor debate, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said depictions of violence can jeopardize the safety of elected officials.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

NANCY PELOSI: Disguising death threats against a member of Congress and a president of the United States in an animated video does not make those death threats any less real or less serious.

SPRUNT: The No. 2 House Democrat, Steny Hoyer, said the censure resolution wasn't about partisanship but accountability for one member threatening the life of a colleague.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

STENY HOYER: Can't that appall you, even that act? Do you have no shame?

SPRUNT: Many Republican lawmakers did not defend the video but said the resolution goes too far. GOP leader Kevin McCarthy argued Democrats were doing this for political gain.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

KEVIN MCCARTHY: For Democrats, this vote isn't about a video. It's about control. That's the one and only thing Democrats are interested in.

SPRUNT: But Ocasio-Cortez criticized McCarthy for making it all about politics.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: What is so hard about saying that this is wrong?

SPRUNT: Gosar listened as his colleagues debated his fate. When it was his turn to speak, he defended the video.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PAUL GOSAR: I do not espouse violence towards anyone. I never have. It was not my purpose to make anyone upset. I voluntarily took the cartoon down, not because it was itself a threat but because some thought it was.

SPRUNT: Gosar, who will lose his committee assignments, did not express regret, nor did he apologize. Republicans Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger joined all Democrats in supporting the censure. After the vote, Gosar stood in the well of the chamber, surrounded by about a dozen colleagues, as the resolution was read.

Barbara Sprunt, NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Barbara Sprunt is a producer on NPR's Washington desk, where she reports and produces breaking news and feature political content. She formerly produced the NPR Politics Podcast and got her start in radio at as an intern on NPR's Weekend All Things Considered and Tell Me More with Michel Martin. She is an alumnus of the Paul Miller Reporting Fellowship at the National Press Foundation. She is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., and a Pennsylvania native.

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