Rep. Greg Pence, R-Indiana, voted against censuring Republican Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona for tweeting an animated video that depicted him killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., with a sword.
In a 223-207 vote almost entirely along party lines, the House voted Wednesday to censure Gosar and remove him from his House committee assignments, according to congressional records.
Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois were the only Republicans voting in favor of the resolution. Rep. David Joyce, R-OH, voted present.
Pence’s communications staff did not respond to a request for comment.
Calling the video a clear threat to a lawmaker’s life, Democrats argued Gosar’s conduct would not be tolerated in any other workplace — and shouldn’t be in Congress, The Associated Press reported.
Gosar had deleted the tweet days ago amid the criticism, but he retweeted the video late Wednesday shortly after the vote, according to wire reports.
Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy called the censure an “abuse of power” by Democrats to distract from national problems, according to the AP. He said of the censure, a “new standard will continue to be applied in the future,” a signal of potential ramifications for Democratic members should Republicans retake a majority.
But Democrats said there was nothing political about it.
“These actions demand a response. We cannot have members joking about murdering each other,” Pelosi said. “This is both an endangerment of our elected officials and an insult to the institution.”
Ocasio-Cortez herself said in an impassioned speech, ”When we incite violence with depictions against our colleagues, that trickles down to violence in this country. And that is where we must draw the line.”
Unrepentant during tense floor debate, Gosar rejected what he called the “mischaracterization” that the cartoon was “dangerous or threatening. It was not.”
“I do not espouse violence toward anyone. I never have. It was not my purpose to make anyone upset,” Gosar said.
—The Associated Press contributed to this report.