QAnon Congressman Openly Threatens AOC and Biden
Republican Congressman Paul Gosar tweeted a photo-manipulated video that depicts him killing his colleague and running at the president with two swords, captioning it: "Any anime fans out there?"
Representative Paul Gosar (R-AZ) posted an altered anime video on Sunday that should be taken as an open threat to sitting public officials, including the president. In the photo-manipulated, animated video, a video likeness of Gosar strikes and kills Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and then runs toward President Biden armed with two swords, as if to attack him.
The clip is roughly 90-seconds and it appears to be an altered version of the opening credits of the Japanese animated series “Attack on Titan.” The original anime series in question, inspired by a Japanese manga created by Hajime Isayama, revolves around a hero who sets out to destroy giant creatures that have devoured nearly all of human civilization, called “Titans.” These opening credits have often been the source for popular alterations, or memes. In recent years, internet users have manipulated this video to turn the show’s opening credits into a meme, which is a parody or spoof of the original content.
Gosar’s altered video (embedded in the tweet below) depicts him as the hero who battles the Titans alongside the altered images of Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA) and Lauren Boebert (CO), two Republican newcomers to Congress who support the conspiracy theories of the QAnon contingency and have often broken safety rules in Congress. An animated version of Gosar, armed with swords, then appears with the title "attack of immigrants."
In one scene, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s face is edited-in to represent a Titan giant’s face and the image of Gosar flies into the air and slashes the Titan in the back of the neck, killing it. In another scene that follows, Gosar launched another attack by swinging two swords at an enemy whose face has been replaced by President Biden. Throughout these animated scenes in which Gosar attacks his colleagues, real-life footage of Border Patrol officers is shown as they round up migrants at the US-Mexico boarder on horseback.
Another edited scene depicts blood spatters over real-life footage of migrants crossing the Rio Grande river. The words “drugs,” “crime,” “poverty,” “money,” “murder,” “gangs,” “violence” and “trafficking” flash across the screen as shots of Gosar, the US Capitol and migrant caravans are edited in. The video montage also includes footage of former President Donald Trump and videos of immigration officials.
Following the collective outrage of the threats depicted in the edited video, Representative Gosar’s digital director, Jessica Lycos, defended the video on Monday night in a statement. “We made an anime video,” Lycos said, “Everyone needs to relax.” Lycos then stated that the problem was that “the left doesn’t get meme culture.” She also cited the lack of liberal “joy” as the real culprit. “They are not the future, said Lycos adding, “It’s a cartoon — Gosar can’t fly and he does not own any light sabers.” Lycos also claims that the video does not “glorify violence [because Gosar is] fighting for truth.”
Trenton Kennedy, a spokesperson for Twitter said late Monday that the company has “placed a public interest notice on this Tweet as it violates our hateful conduct policy.” Kennedy responded by email with the following statement: “As is standard with this notice, engagements with the Tweet will be limited. People will be able to Quote Tweet the Tweet, but will not be able to Like, Reply or Retweet it.” Despite this disclaimer by Twitter, it is worth noting that SHERO is able to publish the video tweet here and it directly plays the content, which means that every media platform is able to republish the video for easy viewing.
After landing in Scotland for the COP26 Conference, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez issued the following response to Rep. Gosar following his post of the altered anime video that depicts him killing her. “While I was en route to Glasgow, a creepy member I work with who fundraises for Neo-Nazi groups shared a fantasy video of him killing me,” she said.
The congresswoman also stated that she predicts Gosar will continue to face “no consequences” for his egregious actions adding: “This dude is a just a collection of wet toothpicks anyway. White supremacy is for extremely fragile people [and] sad men like him, whose self concept relies on the myth that he was born superior because deep down he knows he couldn’t open a pickle jar or read a whole book by himself.”
Democratic Representative Eric Swalwell (CA) criticized Gosar’s video in a tweet on Monday morning, in which he also tagged Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).“Happy Monday in America, where @GOPLeader McCarthy’s colleague just posted a video of himself swinging two swords at President Biden,” Swalwell said in the tweet. “These blood thirsty losers are more comfortable with violence than voting. Keep exposing them.”
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) also denounced the video, arguing that there is a basic right to safety for employees who are being actively threatened by “co-workers” and that this type of behavior should not be tolerated anywhere.
This is not the first time that Gosar has initiated threats against his colleagues and even against the federal government itself. Ali Alexander, who organized the “Stop the Steal” movement, which actively contested the outcome of the general election by claiming the vote counts were rigged, has alleged that he was significantly helped by Reps. Gosar (R-AZ), Andy Biggs (R-AZ) and Mo Brooks (R-AL).
Alexander says that the three Congressmen were directly involved in concocting a plan to put “maximum pressure on Congress while they were voting,” and to stop Congress from formally certifying the election result count which declared Joe Biden the winner of the race. Alexander also claims that the four of them “schemed up” to create the the Jan. 6 rally that led to the attempted coup at the US Capitol Building.
A recent expose by Rolling Stone on the origins of the Jan. 6th insurrection also revealed that Rep. Gosar encouraged people to plan rallies on Jan. 6 because then-President Donald Trump could provide them a "blanket pardon" in another investigation.
According to two unnamed sources who participated in the main rally near the White House on Jan. 6th, Gosar even went so far as to indicate that he had discussed the matter of issuing pardons with Trump in the Oval Office, and gave them the impression that pardons were likely to happen. "Our impression was that it was a done deal," one of the sources said. The article also details the extensive plans and involvement by Members of Congress, who supported Trump, in the rallies in Washington on that day.
A local leader of the right-wing militant Oath Keepers group has also claimed that Rep. Gosar told his organization that the US was in a civil war: “We just haven't started shooting yet.” According to the leader of the Yavapai County chapter of the Oath Keepers, an extremist militant, anti-government militia — that has had at least 10 members of the group identified as participants in the Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol — Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) met with his group, and declared the United States was already embroiled in a Civil War (see video below).
Additionally, Representative Gosar was accused of planning a fundraiser with a group that promotes white-nationalist ideas in June of this year. Although Gosar denied any intention of attending, an invitation for the event featured him alongside Nick Fuentes, a far-right operative who leads America First. It is also worth noting that Fuentes has since been banned from the Twitter platform, while both Gosar’s personal and Congressional accounts remain active.
Typically, threats against the president and sitting Members of Congress are taken seriously and investigated. When comedian Kathy Griffin published a photo in May of 2017, in which Griffin held a bloodied, severed effigy head of Trump, Griffin was investigated by the Secret Service for two months, placed on the “no-fly list,” and was fired from nearly every job she had at the time.
When asked about what would be done in response to these latest threats made by Gosar, Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez responded by listing all of the times that she has been verbally harassed by other members of Congress, including an incident last summer when she was accosted in person by then-Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) on the US Capitol steps.
Ocasio-Cortez also detailed another instance when she was aggressively confronted by Rep. Greene, who was also depicted in Gosar’s video. Ultimately, the Congresswoman concluded that she does not believe that Gosar will face any real consequences "[because] institutions don't protect [women of color]." We will have to wait and see if she is right — but another recent tweet by Gosar, in which he references the video and essentially takes credit for the edits by bragging, “The creativity of my team of off the hook” — tells me she is.
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Amee Vanderpool writes the SHERO Newsletter and is an attorney, published author, contributor to newspapers and magazines, and analyst for BBC radio. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @girlsreallyrule.
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