U.S. Representative Paul Gosar
U.S. Representative Paul Gosar

The House Repub­li­can Cau­cus in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., which once enforced behav­ioral stan­dards, is increas­ing­ly a place where shows of vio­lent fan­ta­sy and the foment­ing of real-life vio­lence are con­doned, excused and even endorsed.

The lat­est fan­ta­sy came Mon­day when an altered ani­me video was tweet­ed from the Twit­ter account of U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Paul Gosar, R‑Arizona.

In the video, Gosar kills Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Ale­san­dria Oca­sio-Cortez, D‑New York, and swings swords at Pres­i­dent Biden. Asked about the video by The Wash­ing­ton Post, Gosar’s press aide replied: “Every­one needs to relax.”

After arriv­ing at the 2021 Unit­ed Nations Cli­mate Change Con­fer­ence in Scot­land, AOC respond­ed: “So 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. And he’ll face no con­se­quences because (House Minor­i­ty Leader Kevin McCarthy) cheers him on with excus­es. Fun Monday.”

As col­league Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Ted Lieu of Cal­i­for­nia accu­rate­ly observed: “In any work­place in Amer­i­ca, if a cowork­er makes an ani­me video [depict­ing them­selves] killing anoth­er cowork­er, that per­son would be fired.”

But not from the House Repub­li­can Cau­cus. Kevin McCarthy has become a Trump strum­pet, fight­ing suc­cess­ful­ly to block the for­ma­tion of an inde­pen­dent bipar­ti­san com­mis­sion to inves­ti­gate the Jan­u­ary 6th insur­rec­tion at the U.S. Capi­tol, and try­ing unsuc­cess­ful­ly to block a House pan­el from cit­ing Trump cronies for con­tempt when they refuse to pony up documents.

It wasn’t always so.

As recent­ly as 2019, McCarthy moved to strip Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Steve King, R‑Iowa, of com­mit­tee assign­ments after defend­ing the terms “white nation­al­ist” and “white supremacy.”

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mark Foley, R‑Florida, was forced to resign his seat in 2006 after rev­e­la­tion he had sent sug­ges­tive emails to male House pages.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Randy “Duke” Cun­ning­ham, R‑California, was shown the door that same year after being con­vict­ed of tak­ing bribes.

No more.

McCarthy whipped Repub­li­can “No” votes when House Democ­rats moved to deny QAanon-sup­port­ing Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mar­jorie Tay­lor Greene, R‑Georgia, of her com­mit­tee assign­ments. The motion passed on a par­ty line vote.

Gosar, who has served in Con­gress since 2011, has raised mon­ey for and appeared at white suprema­cist gath­er­ings. He has bought in to ex-Pres­i­dent Trump’s claims of elec­tion fraud. The lawmaker’s sis­ter, respond­ing to the Mon­day tweet, went on CNN and claimed Gosar is engag­ing in “socio­path­ic fantasies.”

In an August 1st op-ed, sib­lings Jen­nifer, Dave and Tim Gosar wrote: “Although his col­leagues in Con­gress and oth­ers in the media seem to only recent­ly be pay­ing atten­tion, we have been aware of his unhinged behav­ior for years.”

Behav­io­r­i­al stan­dards in the par­ty of Lin­coln seem to have utter­ly van­ished, at least in Con­gress’ low­er chamber.

Thir­teen House Repub­li­cans vot­ed last week to pass the bipar­ti­san infra­struc­ture pack­age, which cap­tured nine­teen Repub­li­can votes in the Sen­ate, includ­ing Mitch McConnel­l’s. The House votes, how­ev­er, were greet­ed with threats and howls.

“Vote for this infra­struc­ture bill and I will pri­ma­ry the hell out of you,” said Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Madi­son Cawthorn, R‑North Carolina.

Added scan­dal-plagued Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Matt Gaetz, R‑Florida: “I can’t believe Repub­li­cans just gave the Democ­rats their social­ism bill.”

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Greene described the thir­teen “yea” Repub­li­can vot­ers as “trai­tors” and said they had con­spired to “pass Joe Biden’s Com­mu­nist takeover of Amer­i­ca” — then pro­vid­ed her fol­low­ers with their phone numbers.

The result has been a break­out of obscene, threat­en­ing phonecalls, usu­al­ly received by youth­ful interns in House offices. Long­time Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Fred Upton, R‑Michigan, shared a voice mail he received: “F****** trai­tor, that’s what you are, you’re a f****** piece of s*** trai­tor. I hope you die. I hope every­body in your f****** fam­i­ly dies. You f****** piece of s*** trash. Mother******.”

The pan­der­ing to threats and vio­lence shows no signs of abat­ing and has spilled over to right-wing media. Lau­ra Ingra­ham, the FNC host, last night encour­aged con­tri­bu­tions to the Kyle Rit­ten­house Defense Fund. Tuck­er Carl­son was defam­ing one of the two peo­ple Rit­ten­house shot dead with his AR-15 assault rifle.

The dark­er side of the Amer­i­can dream seeks whomev­er it may devour.

As Paul Gosar’s sib­lings wrote in their op-ed: “This means unless your col­leagues step in, you are like­ly doomed to go down in his­to­ry as a cau­tion­ary tale – a per­son who betrayed his fam­i­ly, his coun­try and even himself.”

In short, he’s a Kevin McCarthy Republican.

About the author

Joel Connelly is a Northwest Progressive Institute contributor who has reported on multiple presidential campaigns and from many national political conventions. During his career at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, he interviewed Presidents Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and George H.W. Bush. He has covered Canada from Trudeau to Trudeau, written about the fiscal meltdown of the nuclear energy obsessed WPPSS consortium (pronounced "Whoops") and public lands battles dating back to the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.

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