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Now: House Debates Rep. Gosar Censure Over Violent Video. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired November 17, 2021 - 14:30   ET



REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): Let me be clear. I do not condone violence. And Representative Gosar had echoed that sentiment. The video was deleted.

But Democrats won't listen because they will do anything to distract from the failures of one-party rule, in one year, destroying a nation.

For Democrats, this vote isn't about a video. It's about control. That's the one and only thing Democrats are interested in. Not condemning violence, not protecting the institution, not decorum or decency, just control.

The Democrats want control and don't care about the consequences. They are destroying the institution, silencing the minority and, therefore, silencing millions of Americans.

When I talk to Democrat leadership, when they told me what they wanted to do, I asked a simple question, have you seen the video? No, haven't seen it. But they knew exactly what they wanted to do.

It's interesting. Without even watching, they decide the punishment. Why? No need. Rules for thee, but not for me.

What they have started cannot be easily undone. Their actions today and in the past have forever changed the way the House operates.

It means that the minority rights that have served this body as well are the things of the past.

Furthermore, it means that under the Pelosi president, all of the members that I have mentioned earlier will need the approval of a majority to keep those positions in the future.

What was interesting is it's not just the speaker that's making those decisions.

When the chairwoman incited those ideas three times, everyone in the Democratic Party had the ability to vote for what they thought.

Because of those high standards they all voted to table. They all voted to table. Not to remove this chairwoman woman from the committee, but to ask for an apology. Why? Because you all believe in rules for thee, but not for me. That legacy is the real culmination of Speaker Pelosi's career.

Make no mistake, the House is weaker, more partisan, more self-focused today than when Nancy Pelosi became speaker less than four years ago.

Future Congress' will suffer for it. More importantly, the American people have needlessly suffered because of it. They won't soon forget it.

It's about control. It's not about a standard that everybody lives by. It's a standard you enforce on one, but not upon yourself.

You encourage your own side to engage further when you all took a vote to table.

It would be interesting to see if your leadership hasn't watched the video. How many of you who voted today have watched it?

When it was requested, when you contacted the member, he took the video down. He put a statement that he does not believe in violence, to anyone.

But when those on the other side of the aisle incite violence, it's OK, because it's rules for thee, but not for me.

Unfortunately, this body has suffered greatly and a new standard will continue to be applied in the future.

I yield back.

SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE: Members are reminded to address their comments to the chair.

The chair will recognize the gentleman from Florida.

REP. TED DEUTSCHE (D-FL): Madam Speaker, I yield five minutes to Representative Ocasio-Cortez.

SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE: The gentlelady from New York is recognized for five minutes.


And thank you, Madam Speaker.

I have been serving in this body just under three years. In that three years, an enormous amount has happened.

But in response to the Republican leader's remarks, when he says that this action is unprecedented. What I believe is unprecedented is for a member of House leadership of either party to be unable to condemn incitement of violence against a member of this body.

It is sad. It is a sad day in which a member who leads a political party in the United States of America cannot bring themselves to say that issuing a depiction of murdering a member of Congress is wrong. And instead, decides to venture off into a tangent about gas prices and inflation.


What is so hard? What is so hard about saying that this is wrong.

This is not about me. This is not about Representative Gosar. But this is about what we are willing to accept.

Not just the Republican leader, but I have seen other members of this party advance the argument, including Representative Gosar himself, the illusion that this was just a joke.

That what we say and what we do does not matter so long as we claim a lack of meaning.

Now this denialism runs deep and it conveys and betrays, a certain contempt for the meaning and importance of our work here.

That what we do, so long as we claim is a joke, doesn't matter. That what we say here doesn't matter. That our actions every day as elected leaders in the United States of America, doesn't matter. That this chamber and what happens in it doesn't matter.

And I am here to rise to say that it does. Our work here matters. Our example matters. There's meaning in our service.

And as leaders in this country, when we incite violence with depictions against our colleagues, that trickles down into violence of this country. And that's when they must draw the line of independence of party or belief.

It is about a core recognition of human dignity and value and worth.

So when we talk about, as mentioned in the resolution, that these depictions are part of a larger trend of misogyny and racist misogyny. This has results in dampening the participation.

So this vote is not as complex as perhaps the Republican leader would like to make folks believe. It's pretty cut and dried.

Do you find -- does anyone in this chamber find this behavior acceptable? Would you allow depictions of violence, against women, against colleagues?

Would you allow this in your home? Do you think this should happen on a school board, in a city council, in a church?

And if it's not acceptable there, why should it be accepted here?

Lastly, when the Republican leader rose to talk about how they are all of these double standards and lists a litany of all of these different things, not once did he list an example of a member of Congress threatening the life of another.

This is not about a double standard. And what is unprecedented and what is tragic is the defense of transgression in this body. I grew up as a little girl with awe about our nation's capital. The

reverence and importance and the gravity of our work here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have 30 seconds.

SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE: The gentlelady is recognized.

OCASIO-CORTEZ: The gravity of our work here.

So the question I pose to this body in response is, will we live up to the promises that we make our children? That this is a place where we will defend one another regardless of belief, that our core human dignity matters.

If you believe that this behavior is acceptable, go ahead, vote no. But if you believe that this behavior should not be accepted, then vote yes. It's really that simple.


Thank you. And I yield back to the chairman.

SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE: The gentlelady from Indiana.

REP. JACKIE WALORSKI (R-IN): Madam Speaker, I yield as much time as I may consume.

The gentlelady is recognized.

WALORSKI: First, let me say I am not here to defend any actions of Representative Gosar or his staff. And let me be clear, I condemn all acts of violence.

In fact, I am a recent victim of violence. A political activist attempted to run me over with his car. When this happened, I immediately contacted law enforcement.

If members of Congress, anywhere, anytime, feels threatened, they should contact the police.

Unfortunately, this posted video is not the first video or statement by a member of Congress inciting or depicting violence. Members on both sides of the aisle have made choices I surely wouldn't have made.

But as the ranking member of the House Ethics Committee, I find myself on the floor for the second time this year to address an issue that has been referred as ethics, but which has seen no committee process before coming to the floor for a vote.

Yesterday afternoon, the majority party drafted this resolution and scheduled this debate for a vote today. The House Ethics Committee has had no time to consider this matter through the Ethics Committee process. And there is a process.

The nonpartisan staff should have the time to reserve and gather information. The committee members should have had conversations before making a decision whether and how to move forward on any investigation.

The chairman claims to have reached out to schedule an emergency committee meeting last night. But reality is that he did so at a time when we had just been notified to appear on this resolution of rules last night.

Just for the record, the majority controls when this resolution was introduced, when the rules committee meeting was scheduled, when the Ethics Committee meets, and when the resolution comes to the floor for a vote.

If there's a scheduling conflict or an excuse as to why we are standing here today rushing this to the floor, it was a conflict that was totally intended by the majority.

So here we are today voting to remove a representative from his committee and censure him on the House floor.

Traditionally, members are placed on committees by their own party. And they are removed from committees by their own party.

Yet, this majority has broken precedent, again, removing the second Republican member of this Congress from their committees.

Let me just say, again, members on both sides of the aisle have made choices that many of us would not have made.

But by rushing this vote to the floor today and ignoring the institutional process, the majority is setting a precedent again. They may not serve this institution well in the future.

And I reserve the balance of my time.

SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE: The gentleman from Florida.

DEUTSCH: I'm asking to yield to myself all the time I can consume.

SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE: The gentleman is recognized.

DEUTSCH: Madam Speaker, this resolution was referred to Committee on Ethics, it seems, to censure Representative Gosar and remove him positions on committees.

We are acting on this resolution today because Representative Gosar recently used House resources to disseminate and celebrate a video that depicts the murder of a fellow colleague.

I did see the video.

I am sorry that the distinguished leader of the Republican Party chose not to or viewed it and deemed it something less than what it is, which is the horrific depiction of the murder of a fellow colleague and threats to the president of the United States.

We are acting on this resolution because Republican leadership has not taken responsibility for members of its own Congress when a fellow member of Congress has been threatened with violence.

The House cannot wait indefinitely for Republican leadership to find its collective conscious and condemn the threat when our colleague has been victimized, as women of color so often are. The House cannot ignore that threat.

So the full House must reject Representative Gosar's conduct and prevent the normalization of violent imagery and rhetoric directed against members of Congress.


Just 10 months ago, this very chamber was attacked in an act of brutal, bloody, savagery. All of us experienced it firsthand.

Some were trapped in the upper gallery while an angry mob tried to beat down the chamber door to disrupt the certification of President Biden's Electoral College victory.

Since January 6th, death threats against members of Congress have multiplied and several individuals have been arrested. The threat against actual violence against members is real and it's growing.

So this resolution is vital to protecting our members' safety. But it also is vital to stem the pernicious wave of political violence rising across this country.

Which is why Representative Gosar's video and his subsequent failure to publicly apologize or take full responsibility must be swiftly condemned.

Any member who uses his public platform to depict physical violence against another member and a president reflects extreme discredit on this body.

This conduct violates the most basic standards of collegiality and civil discourse and public decency.

Clause I of our Code of Conduct requires members "to behave at all times in a manner that shall reflect better on the House."

And if that rule is to have any meaning whatsoever, and if we are to fulfill our representation of the House, Representative Gosar must face consequences for his conduct.

Our Republican colleagues may howl at the process, proclaiming that resolution wrongly bypasses the Ethics Committee. But the ultimate power to censure a member and remove that member from a committee rests with the House.

The committee can recommend such a sanction to the full House. But nothing in our rules requires the House to wait.

Nor should the House wait in this instance, not when there's clear and present need to remove Representative Gosar from a committee on which Representative Ocasio-Cortez herself serves. There are no factual questions that remain open here. There are no

unresolved questions of intent.

It is clear from the video and from Representative Gosar's minimizing it, that's censure is appropriate and immediate removal from the Natural Resources, and Oversight Government Reform Committee is warranted.

That is why the House must take this action today. It's why I ask my colleagues to support the resolution.

I reserve the balance of my time.

SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE: The gentlelady from Indiana.

WALORSKI: Madam Speaker, I am pleased to yield two minutes to gentleman from Arizona, Mr. Gosar.

SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE: The gentleman is recognized for two minutes.

REP. PAUL GOSAR (R-AZ): Thank you, Madam Speaker.

I rise today to address and reject the mischaracterization and accusations from many in this body that the cartoon from my office is dangerous or threatening. It was not. And I reject the false-narrative categorically.

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 a threat, but some thought it was. Out of compassion for those who generally felt offense, I self-censored.

Last week, my staff posted a video depicting a policy battle regarding amnesty for tens of millions of illegal aliens. This is an enemy who speaks to young voters who are too often overlooked.

Even Twitter, the left's mouthpiece, did not remove the cartoon, noting that it was in the public's interest for it to remain.

The cartoon directly contributes to the understanding and the discussion of the real-life battle resulting from this administration's open-border policies.

This body is considering passage of Mr. Biden's reckless Socialist/Marxist $4.9 trillion spending bill that provides $100 billion and amnesty to tens of millions of illegal aliens already in this country.

This is what the left doesn't want the American people to know.

Our country is suffering from the plague of illegal immigration. I don't stop playing this out, not will I.

Many of illegal aliens, drugs, and human traffickers are being let in and moved around our country in the dead of night, all condoned by this administration.

For this cartoon, some in Congress suggest I should be punished. I have said decisively there's no threat in the cartoon other than the threat to what immigration poses to our country.

And no threat was intended by my staff or me.

The American people deserve to have their voices heard in Congress.

No matter how much the left tries to quiet me, I will continue to speak out against amnesty for illegal aliens, defend the rule of law and advancing the American First agenda.

SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE: The gentleman --


GOSAR: If I must join Alexander --

SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE: The gentleman is recognized for 30 seconds.

GOSAR: If I must join Alexander Hamilton, the first person censored by this House, so be it. It is done.

Madam Speaker, I yield back.


SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE: The gentleman from Florida.

DEUTSCHE: Madam Speaker, I'm pleased to yield three minutes to the author of this resolution, the gentlelady from California.

SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE: The gentlelady is recognized for three minutes.

REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D-CA): Thank you, Madam Speaker.

I thank my colleague for giving me this time.

I take no pleasure in introducing this resolution. No one asked me to introduce. It no one tapped me on the shoulder.

I am a victim of violence. I know what it's like. I also was in the gallery clamoring for life when the shots rang out in the speaker's lobby.

We're here today because a sitting member thought it was OK, OK to post a deranged animated video of himself killing a fellow member of this House and also attacking the president of the United States.

That video has been seen by three million people. It was up for over two days before it was taken down. Inciting violence begets violence.

Congressman Ocasio-Cortez has become the go-to subject of the radical right to stir up their base, as too often is the case for women of color. It is disgustingly and profoundly unacceptable. Tragically, the minority leader has not condemned the video. For eight

days he said nothing. Silence speaks volumes. Silence normalizes violence.

Violence against women in politics is a global phenomenon. A 2016 survey by the Interparliamentary Union found that 82 percent of women parliamentarians have experienced psychological violence. And 44 percent have received threats of death, rape, beatings or abductions.

The intent of these online threats against women is clear, silence them. Strip them of their power and discourage them from running for office.

The congressman defends his post. Published with House resources and posted on his official Twitter and Instagram accounts.

It didn't stop there. He sent an email to supporters that weekend stating that "the faux outrage was infantile." This is not faux outrage. This is not infantile.

And then he went on to say, "The accusations are shrill and hyperventilating." It doesn't take a rocket scientist to glean that this is gender-coded language.

The congressman shows no remorse. In fact, yesterday, the congressman said, "I did not apologize."

Twenty-three members of the House in the history of this country have been censured for actions including insulting the speaker or using unparliamentary language.

Certainly, conduct by a member depicting murdering another member of the House deserves censure.

Let me be clear. If a Democrat did the same thing, I would introduce the same resolution.

With that, I yield back.

SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE: The gentlelady from Indiana.

WALORSKI: Madam Speaker, I'm pleased to yield one minute to the gentleman from Indiana, Mr. Baird.

SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE: The gentleman is recognized for one minute.

REP. JAMES BAIRD (R-IN): Thank you, Madam Speaker.

And thank you to the lady from Indiana.

Madam Speaker, you know today I rise in the light of recent events and I can no longer feel like I can stay silent.

The hypocrisy of this body considering the censuring and stripping of committee assignments of Representative Gosar is illustrative of the inability of this body to effectively legislate. It demonstrates why many Americans have lost all confidence in our

ability to be and provide effective leadership.

I have found Mr. Paul Gosar to be an honorable and effective legislator. And I have found him to care deeply for his colleagues and America.

I yield back.

SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE: The gentleman from Florida.

DEUTSCHE: Madam Speaker, I yield one minute to the gentleman from Rhode Island.

SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE: The gentleman is recognized for one minute.

REP. DAVID CICILLINE (D-RI): I thank the gentleman for yielding.

And I thank the majority leader.

I rise in strong support of the censure resolution.

I watched this video and I was sickened when I saw Mr. Gosar depicting the killing of another member of this body, and brandishing swords at the president of the United States.

This kind of rhetoric is not just unfitting of a U.S. representative. It's dangerous and it can be deadly, as we saw on January 6th.

And in 2011 when an individual shot then-Congresswoman Gabby Gifford after Sarah Palin sent out a video with shooting targets on various congressional districts, including Gabby's.

This is not a joke. This is not about politics. It's about safety.

While healthy debate on the issues on different policy issues is important, it's what keeps our democracy alive. This is not that. We cannot allow members to encourage and incite violence period.

And Mr. Gosar, you are no Alexander Hamilton. You must be held accountable.

I yield back.

SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE: Members are again reminded to address their remarks to the chair.

The gentlelady from Indiana.

WALORSKI: Madam Speaker, I'm pleased to yield two minutes to the gentleman from Arizona, Mr. Biggs.

SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE: The gentleman is recognized for two minutes.

REP. ANDY BIGGS (R-IN): I thank the gentlelady. And, Madam Speaker, let's take a look at what Democrats in Congress are ignoring so they can censure a conservative Republican because he posted a cartoon they found offensive and which he took down himself.

More than two million illegal aliens crossing our border this calendar year. Attorney General Garland deploying federal agents to spy on parents.

Inflation, driving gas prices up. Everybody's Thanksgiving dinner is going up.

A vaccine mandate that's clearly unconstitutional, a bankruptcy inducing bill by Democrats, supply chain in shambles.

Democrats consistently ignoring calls of their own, calls that Democrats have made to violence, and anti-Semitic statements.

Foreign policy embarrassments, Americans languishing behind in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. China, Iran and North Korea on the move.

Yes, we have been ignoring those things.

But we're here today.

I have lived in Japan. I lived in Japan for several years. I speak Japanese. I read it and write Japanese.

This is an anime. (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE). Highly popular. Stylized. Intended to demonstrate the alienation people feel, particularly young people in their cultures.

Now, does anime have violence? Yes. It's highly stylized violence. It is not meant to induce people to violence. Nor was --


BIGGS: I thank you.

It was not Mr. Gosar's intention I believe, and he's made that clear, to induce anyone to violence. And like he, I also condemn violence.

But I would ask, I would ask you to reconsider further usurping and taking control of this body for political purposes because that's what's happening here today.

Madam Speaker, I yield.

SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE: The chair will, again, remind all members to address their remarks to the chair.

The gentleman from Florida.

DEUTSCHE: Madam Chair, I yield one minute to the House majority leader.

SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE: The gentleman is recognized for one minute.

REP. STENY HOYER (D-MD): I thank the gentleman for yielding.

I think all of us would wish that we were not here, Madam Speaker, on a subject of this gravity, on a subject so present in our society at large, the exhortation to violence to accomplish one's objectives.

I've been sitting here since we started the debate, which is about 45 minutes ago. So many get up and say I do not support violence. I do not support this action. But I will do nothing about it.

Now, of course they don't say the last sentence, they just don't do anything.

As I sat there as Mr. McCarthy was talking, I was thinking that he was getting up in my face and up in Nancy Pelosi's face. I think that's what he was doing. I expect that in vigorous debate.


They focused on a non-analogous action by a member of this House, the chairman of the Finance Committee. Why did they do that? Because there is no analogous event to this one.

In the 40-plus years that I have served here, there has never been a case like this. Never.