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Cheney breaks party ranks in vote to censure Gosar

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Congress Divided Republicans

Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., speaks to reporters while her colleague Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., stands left, after she was ousted from her leadership role in the House Republican Conference at the Capitol in Washington.

Rep. Liz Cheney was one of two Republicans to break party ranks and vote to censure a colleague for posting a violent animated video.

Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar posted an altered video on Twitter that depicted himself killing far-left New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — who is often the target of vitriol from the far-right — before turning the knife on President Joe Biden.

Cheney and Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger were the only Republicans to vote with Democrats. Ohio Republican Rep. David Joyce voted present, meaning he took no position. The final vote count was 223-207.

Gosar was also stripped of his committee assignments as a part of the referendum. The last time the House voted to censure a member was in 2010.

“The glorification of the suggestion of the killing of a colleague is completely unacceptable. And I think that it’s a clear violation of House rules. I think it’s a sad day,” Cheney told reporters walking off the House floor Wednesday. “But I think that it’s really important for us to be very clear that violence has no place in our political discourse.”

Kinzinger and Cheney are the only two House Republicans who have steadfastly rebuked former President Donald Trump, and they were two of 10 Republicans to vote to impeach him following the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection. They are also the only two Republicans on the House Select Committee to investigate the attack.

Cheney has said her vote to impeach Trump after the insurrection put principle — and the Constitution — above party. The Gosar vote tracks with that tenet.

“I had to make a decision about whether or not it was more important to be a member of the House leadership or more important to fight for Wyoming’s values and principles and for the restoration of the party,” Cheney previously told the Star-Tribune, after she was voted out of her leadership position.

The video uses a portion of the anime “Attack on Titan,” but the faces are replaced with Gosar and his Democratic colleagues. The video is not the first time Gosar has attracted negative attention for his actions and statements.

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Gosar has made headlines for scheduling events with Nick Fuentes, a political commentator and social media personality who has been called a white-nationalist organizer by the Southern Poverty Law Center, and who has been banned from most social media one can think of — YouTube, Reddit, TikTok, Spotify, Venmo and Twitter. Fuentes has said a number of controversial things, including a warning that the country is losing “its white demographic core” in addition to labeling the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol as “awesome” and defending segregation.

Prior to that, Gosar implied that billionaire liberal donor George Soros — who is a constant target of antisemitic conspiracies — may have been a Nazi collaborator as a youth.

Gosar endorsed state Rep. Chuck Gray, R-Casper, in the U.S. House race against Cheney, before Gray left the race in September.

Despite being an Arizona representative, Gosar has Wyoming connections. He is a Pinedale native and is the former chair of the Congressional Western Caucus, which Rep. Liz Cheney is a vice chair of.

Gosar’s controversial history has drawn the ire of even his own family members, many of whom live in Wyoming.

Six of Gosar’s nine siblings endorsed his Democratic challenger in 2018, David Brill, putting out a series of video ads filmed in different Wyoming locations. In the series, Tim, Grace, Joan, Gaston, Jennifer and David Gosar came out against a number of policies advocated by their brother. What’s more, the Gosar family played a big role in the inception of the ad concept, the Star-Tribune previously reported.

Follow state politics reporter Victoria Eavis on Twitter @Victoria_Eavis

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