Congressional colleagues, sister denounce Rep. Paul Gosar's tweet of video targeting Biden, AOC

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WASHINGTON – Rep. Paul Gosar's congressional colleagues – and his sister – are denouncing a violent video he tweeted Sunday, with some lawmakers asking the House's top Republican to discipline the Arizona congressman.

On Tuesday, lawmakers from both sides of the political aisle ramped up pressure on House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., to take action.

Gosar posted a photoshopped anime-style video to his social media accounts appearing to show him killing Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and attacking President Joe Biden.

Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., responded that Gosar – who has routinely espoused conspiracy theories and encouraged people to participate in the rallies ahead of the insurrection attempt on Jan. 6 – wouldn't face "consequences" because McCarthy "cheers him on with excuses."

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USA TODAY has reached out to McCarthy's office for comment.

Jennifer Gosar, the congressman's sister, told MSNBC what she saw in the video displayed "immigrants as the locust plague" and called it "despicable."

"I am absolutely beyond aghast at how much this man has gotten away with. I don't know what he would need to do for any one of those people in quote 'a leadership position' to hold him accountable," Jennifer Gosar said of her brother.

White House deputy press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre said Tuesday “There is absolutely no place for any violence of any sort in this political system." But she deferred to Twitter on how they should monitor such content.

Twitter labeled the doctored video, saying it violated the rules about hateful conduct, but "determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible."

"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," said a Twitter spokesperson in a statement.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., wrote on Tuesday that, "Threats of violence against Members of Congress and the President of the United States must not be tolerated." She called on McCarthy to "join in condemning this horrific video and call on the Ethics Committee and law enforcement to investigate."

The four co-chairs of House Democratic Policy and Communications Committee penned a letter to McCarthy on Tuesday calling for the Ethics Committee and law enforcement to investigate Gosar.

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"From spreading lies about the 2020 election which led to a violent insurrection that injured police officers, to Mr. Gosar’s disgusting threats against the American President and a fellow Member of Congress, Leader McCarthy’s refusal to take violence seriously is dangerous,” according to the letter from Reps. Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania, Debbie Dingell of Michigan, Ted Lieu of California and Joe Neguse of Colorado.

“In any other job in America, if a coworker made a video killing another coworker, that person would be fired. Mr. McCarthy needs to decide whether he will finally stand with the American people on the side of law and order or he will continue to support violence and chaos," the group wrote.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., who recently announced he would not seek reelection partially due to the rhetoric and division in Congress, tweeted "this will continue" because though McCarthy and the GOP could "condemn this proactively," they "won't."

More: Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger announces he will not seek reelection

Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., wrote on Twitter that Gosar's "conduct is grotesque, dangerous and utterly disgraceful to the United States House of Representatives. We must address his intolerable assaults on the dignity of our body and safety of our colleagues."

Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., tweeted, "This man should not serve in Congress. Fantasizing about violently attacking your colleagues has no place in our political discourse and society."

The House voted in February, mostly along party lines, to remove Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., from her two committee positions for a litany of incendiary, conspiratorial and menacing social media posts before she was elected.

More: House removes Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from committees over incendiary social media posts

Gosar responded to the criticism on Tuesday by posting a meme that said, "It's a cartoon. Relax."

Ocasio-Cortez, in response to the video on Monday evening, detailed other times she's been verbally hounded by members of Congress since she was elected in 2018, including when Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., accosted her in July of last year on the steps of the Capitol.

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"Institutions don't protect [women of color]," Ocasio-Cortez concluded.

Contributing: Joseph Garrison

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Paul Gosar: Congress members call on Kevin McCarthy to take action

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