…Gosar’s censure — the second most severe punishment a House member can receive, after expulsion — is significant for several reasons. In addition to doling out a public rebuke, it sends an important message against violent rhetoric, which in politics is often disproportionately targeted toward women of color. The loss of committee seats in particular is notable: It’s through them that lawmakers are able to weigh in on policy and conduct government oversight — and without them, they have little power.
“We cannot have members joking about murdering each other, as well as threatening the president of the United States,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said earlier this week.
While Democrats have broadly condemned Gosar’s actions, Republican leadership has shied away from issuing any outright criticism. “I called him when I heard about the video, and he made a statement that he doesn’t support violence, and he took the video down,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said in a CNN interview.
Gosar has removed the video following significant backlash, and issued a statement saying he does not “espouse violence or harm towards any Member of Congress or Mr. Biden,” but he hasn’t apologized.
Democrats hope the censure vote on Wednesday serves as an explicit condemnation of Gosar’s post, and draws a line regarding the type of behavior lawmakers are willing to accept. Violent language by members has become an especially sensitive issue after the January 6 insurrection highlighted how speeches encouraging violence could translate to real-world deaths…