In a political war that has raged on social media and in Congress, a Democratic House member of the Arizona delegation on Tuesday became the first lawmaker to get his reputation tarnished after violently assaulting a young woman in 2017, sending a staff member to the hospital.
Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) was censured by the House Rules Committee on Tuesday morning in a vote that was heavily contested by Democrats. Gosar, who has been the center of controversy in recent weeks for his activities on Twitter, will be banned from using social media for three years, a punishment the long-serving lawmaker vociferously opposed. He says the only reason he won’t be able to use Twitter is that his wife refuses to let him use it at their home.
“Having young children at home … it gets to be a big deal,” Gosar told CNN Monday.
The censure vote came as part of a broader set of punishments for lawmakers who have been caught using their outside platforms to make personal, highly partisan attacks on one another.
“I don’t agree with the underlying idea of censure, but I respect the ethics committee’s process and the House process.” Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., on being censured over a video. https://t.co/l44D4yP5co pic.twitter.com/i7HZZyyMaQ — ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) May 1, 2018
“Censure is the label, it isn’t the reality,” Gosar said of the vote.
The ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Ethics, Lois Frankel (D-Fla.), went further: Gosar should have never been permitted to serve in Congress in the first place.
“You are a convicted felon,” Frankel told Gosar. “You brought shame on the Congress of the United States. I don’t care how much free time your family forgets to feed you.”
Earlier in the day, Gosar released an Instagram video of himself throwing a glass door and sending a woman back and forth from the sky. Gosar has since been accused of punching a security guard in the face and bodyguard identified by Gosar’s wife as his partner. In a similar incident in 2017, Gosar reportedly faced an investigation over the possession of graphic images that depict women who he believed were prostitutes or in the midst of prostitution activities.
While the video was deleted from Gosar’s Instagram, it remained on the outlet Liberty Flyer, which showcased a meme depicting a good-looking young woman, referred to as AOC, being punched in the face. A day after the video first came to light, Gosar resigned his position on the House Freedom Caucus over the meme and was publicly sanctioned by Steve King (R-Iowa), the group’s ranking member.
Here’s some choice language from Rep. King, R-Iowa, addressing the Gosar situation. pic.twitter.com/ZgqD1Skixt — Sabrina Siddiqui (@SabrinaMSiddiqui) May 1, 2018
“We need to ensure our own asshats are not able to carry our water,” King said at the time.