Ex-Clinton labor secretary calls for Paul Gosar to be expelled from the House for promoting violence: 'Censure is not enough'
On Wednesday, November 17, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to censure far-right Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona for posting an animated video that depicts him murdering Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of Arizona. The 223-207 vote came down largely along party lines, and the only Republicans who voted "yes" were Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois. One of the many Democrats who has been lambasting Gosar for inciting violence against Ocasio-Cortez is economist Robert Reich, who served as secretary of labor under the Clinton Administration — and Reich slams Gosar vehemently in an op-ed published by The Guardian this week.
Reich, in his op-ed, recalls the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona by gunman Jared Lee Loughner on January 8, 2011 — and the violent imagery that former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin had used before that attack. Giffords, he notes, "continues to struggle with language" a decade later.
"In March 2010, ten months before the shooting, former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin had posted a map of 20 congressional districts she and John McCain won in 2008 but whose representatives in Congress had voted in favor of the Affordable Care Act," Reich remembers. "The map marked each district with a set of crosshairs. Palin promoted the map by tweeting 'Don't Retreat, Instead — RELOAD.' One of those crosshairs targeted Gabby."
Reich continues, "Although no direct connection was ever established between Palin's map and Gabby's shooting, surely Palin's violent rhetoric contributed to a climate of political violence in America in which a delusional man would mark Gabby for assassination. Gabby herself had expressed concern about Palin's map. Just as surely, Palin's inflammatory post was a step toward increasingly violent political rhetoric on the way to Donald Trump and the insurrection of 6 January."
U.S. House CENSURES Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) www.youtube.com
The resolution to censure Gosar was introduced by Rep. Jackie Speier of California. Speier has herself been a victim of violence: in November 1978, when she was a staffer for Rep. Leo Ryan, Speier was shot five times in Guyana by members of Jim Jones' People's Temple cult.
Back in 1978, when California was still a red state and Speier was recovering from that attack, many Republicans wished her well. The political environment in the U.S. is much more toxic in 2021 than it was back then, and Reich warns that Gosar's anti-AOC video only adds to the tensions the U.S. is suffering.
"America is experiencing increasingly virulent politics and violent political threats," Reich observes. "The New York Times reports that at a conservative rally in western Idaho last month, a young man stepped up to a microphone to ask when he could start killing Democrats. 'When do we get to use the guns?' he said, as the audience applauded. 'How many elections are they going to steal before we kill these people?' The local state representative, a Republican, later called it a 'fair' question."
Reich continues, "According to the Times, violent threats against lawmakers are on track to double this year. Republicans who break party ranks and defy Trump have come to expect death threats — often incited by their own colleagues, who have denounced them as traitors."
JUST IN: AOC Responds To Paul Gosar Video In House Floor Remarks www.youtube.com
During a speech on the House floor on November 17, Ocasio-Cortez found it appalling that so few House Republicans are willing to condemn Gosar even though he promoted violence against her.
Reich stresses, "Unless those at the highest levels of government who foment or encourage violence — or who remain conspicuously silent as others do — are held accountable, no one in political life will be safe. Censure is not enough for Gosar. He should be expelled from the House."
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