In a sick and twisted sense, it’s fitting that white supremacists celebrate the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict the same week that House Republicans stood with Representative Paul Gosar for fantasizing about murdering AOC.
If you haven’t been following the news recently, you may not have heard that far-right Congressman Paul Gosar tweeted a doctored video of him murdering Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and striking President Joe Biden. While both of those points have rightly gotten considerable media attention, the video also featured undocumented immigrants crossing the border. The not-too-subtle suggestion from the video is that immigrants crossing the border should be treated with violence.
Apparently, those messages are A-OK with Gosar’s Republican colleagues in the House. After all, only two Republicans voted to censure him: Representative Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Representative Adam Kinzinger (R-IL). Cheney and Kinzinger are the same Republican representatives who voted to impeach Donald Trump for his coup attempt and currently sit on the 1/6 Committee investigating the insurrection.
The kid-glove approach to Gosar contrasts sharply with how House Republicans are treating other members of their conference. They have already punished Liz Cheney (formerly the third-ranking Republican in the House of Representatives) for daring to tell the truth about 1/6. They are threatening to punish the 13 moderate Republicans who voted for Biden’s infrastructure bill. (Those same members are also receiving death threats.) Yet all but two House Republicans stood with Representative Gosar when he all-but-encouraged violence against a colleague.
Gosar – who has already been implicated in the insurrection and whose six siblings were featured in an extraordinary ad opposing his re-election – took note of that support. After initially deleting the tweet, he retweeted the video after the censure vote in an act of defiance. The lesson that he apparently learned was that his Republican colleagues had his back and that he should double down.
To be sure, not all of his Republican colleagues agree with Gosar’s extremism; some have mildly condemned it while opposing the censure on weak procedural grounds, arguing that it went too far in stripping him of committee assignments. Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE) expressed concern with the precedent that the censure would set. Oddly, he had less concern about the precedent set from doing little to nothing when a member of Congress threatens another member.
Aside from Cheney and Kinzinger, everyone else in the House Republican conference is either sympathetic to Gosar or too cowardly to stand up to him. They either outwardly support violence or refuse to condemn it in a meaningful way.
What does that tell us? The fascist takeover of the House Republican conference is all but complete.
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore, Flickr