Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) tore into House Republicans for rallying to the defense of Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) just ahead of Wednesday’s censure vote, wondering “what is so hard” about saying Gosar’s cartoon depicting her murder is wrong.
“This nihilism runs deep,” the progressive lawmaker further observed during her fiery House floor speech.
Ocasio-Cortez’s remarks came right after House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) delivered a lengthy address claiming the censure of Gosar for publicly fantasizing about beheading his Democratic colleague was the “definition of abuse of power.”
Repeatedly accusing Democrats of engaging in “rules for thee but not for me,” the GOP leader then offered up the mildest of rebukes of Gosar’s actions while also crediting the extremist Arizona Republican for eventually taking down the offending video.
“Let me be clear. I do not condone violence, and Rep. Gosar had echoed that sentiment,” McCarthy declared. “The video was deleted, but Democrats won’t listen because they will do anything to distract from the failures of one-party rule in one year destroying a nation.”
The New York lawmaker, meanwhile, took aim at McCarthy and other Republicans for brushing aside Gosar’s threatening tweet and engaging in whataboutism.
“In response to the Republican leader’s remarks when he says that this action is unprecedented, what I believe is unprecedented is for a member of House leadership of either party to be unable to condemn incitement of violence against a member of this body,” she exclaimed.
“It is sad. It is a sad day in which a member who leads a political party in the United States of America cannot bring themselves to say that issuing a depiction of murdering a member of Congress is wrong, and instead decides to venture off into a tangent about gas prices and inflation,” the congresswoman continued. “What is so hard? What is so hard about saying that this is wrong?!”
Ocasio-Cortez then criticized House Republicans and Gosar himself for insisting the anime clip was “just a joke,” asserting that they’re essentially saying whatever they do or say doesn’t matter as long they can claim they didn’t really mean it.
“Now, this nihilism runs deep,” she proclaimed. “And it conveys and betrays a certain contempt for the meaning and importance of our work here. That what we do, as long as we claim that it is a joke, doesn’t matter. That what we say here doesn’t matter. That our actions every day as elected leaders in the United States of America doesn’t matter!”
Further stating that the anime’s violent depictions “are part of a larger trend of misogyny and racist misogyny,” the congresswoman went on to rhetorically ask her Republican colleagues whether they find Gosar’s actions acceptable.
“Would you allow depictions of violence against women, against colleagues?” Ocasio-Cortez questioned. “Would you allow that in your home? Do you think this should happen on a school board? In a city council, in a church? And if it’s not acceptable there, why should it be accepted here?”
The New York Democrat wrapped up her five-minute speech by pushing back on McCarthy’s complaints that the censure of Gosar was nothing more than Democratic hypocrisy.
“Lastly, when the Republican leader rose to talk about how there are all of these double standards and lists a litany of all these different things, not once did he list an example of a member of Congress threatening the life of another,” she concluded. “This is not about a double standard. And what is unprecedented and what is tragic is the descent of transgression in this body.”