Former President Donald Trump weighed in to endorse Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., a day after the Republican lawmaker was censured by the House and removed from his committees for sharing an anime video that depicted him killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and attacking President Biden.
“Congressman Paul Gosar has been a loyal supporter of our America First agenda, and even more importantly, the USA,” Trump said in a statement Thursday. “Paul is a Congressman who is highly respected in Arizona, strong on Crime, Borders, our Military, and our Veterans. He continually fights for Lower Taxes, Less Regulations, and our great, but under siege, Second Amendment. Paul Gosar has my Complete and Total Endorsement!”
In a mostly party line vote Wednesday, the House voted to censure Gosar and remove him from his committees after he posted a video to Twitter earlier this month that depicted him and Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., and Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., attacking a character with Ocasio-Cortez’s face edited onto the video. Democrats were unified in the vote to censure Gosar, while the only Republicans to vote with Democrats were Reps. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., and Liz Cheney, R-Wyo.
Along with the nearly universal GOP opposition to the censure resolution against Gosar, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., slammed Democrats for subscribing to the philosophy of “rules for thee and not for me” on the House floor.
Other Republicans were critical of the Democratic effort to censure Gosar but did admit the video was “inappropriate.”
“The video was certainly provocative and in my opinion inappropriate,” Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., said, though he warned the move to strip Gosar of his committee assignments “continues to set an extremely… dangerous precedent for future Congresses.”
But some Republicans have voiced frustration with the GOP lawmaker even as the party mostly unified to vote against the censure resolution.
“Leadership is pissed,” one House GOP aide told Fox News. “These petty distractions are a waste of energy, childish, unnecessary.”
Gosar has defended himself amid the controversy, telling Fox News that he “had nothing to apologize for.”
“I have received overwhelming support from Republican colleagues, including Leader McCarthy, for which I am incredibly grateful. The battle yesterday was 100% partisan and it reflects the on-going culture war,” Gosar said in a statement to Fox News Thursday. “In this instance, we did not back down, and we had nothing to apologize for. I put Republicans in a great position nationally as fighters, instead of capitulators. The response from conservatives has been overwhelmingly supportive and the people appreciate members who stand up and fight for what is right.”
In an interview with SiriusXM’s The Wilkow Majority Thursday, Gosar said he would have taken the video down had Ocasio-Cortez asked him to.
“If she were to come to see me and said – or even picked up my phone number, emailed or called and said ‘I see where you were trying to go with this, but could you take it down?’ I’d be happy to,” Gosar said.
The video was quickly taken down after it was posted, though Gosar insisted during the interview that he didn’t mean any harm.
“I don’t espouse violence. I don’t espouse harming anybody, whether it be a member of Congress, whether it be a President of the United States, whether it be my own brothers and sisters,” Gosar said.