Congressman Paul Gosar (R-AZ) shared a video on Twitter and Instagram this week in which his face is transposed over an anime cartoon character using a pair of swords to attack giant-sized cartoon characters with the faces of President Joe Biden and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).
Twitter had placed a disclaimer on the video, warning that it “may contain graphic or violent content,” The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday. The video has since disappeared from Gosar’s Twitter and Instagram accounts, though it has been copied and re-shared on social media.
The video appears to mimic the intro for the cartoon series “Attack on Titan.” The cartoon series is about a society of humans who live within a walled city and kill giants that are trying to break in.
Gosar’s video includes actual footage of immigrants crowding toward the U.S.-Mexico border and arrests by border patrol officers, interspersed with a sword-wielding Gosar slashing at the neck of a giant creature with Cortez’ face transposed on its body. The video also depicts Gosar’s character lunging with a pair of swords at another giant creature with Biden’s face transposed onto its body.
Reacting to Gosar’s tweet, Cortez tweeted, “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 bc @GOPLeader cheers him on with excuses. Fun Monday! Well, back to work bc institutions don’t protect [women of color].”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) also condemned Gosar’s video and called for the Republican party’s House minority leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to join in the condemnation.
“Threats of violence against Members of Congress and the President of the United States must not be tolerated. @GOPLeader should join in condemning this horrific video and call on the Ethics Committee and law enforcement to investigate.”
The White House also criticized Gosar’s behavior during a Tuesday press briefing.
“There is no place for the — for any type of violence or that type of language in the political system. And it should not be happening, and we should be condemning it,” White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters.
On Wednesday, Gosar told the Wall Street Journal the video was not meant to be a literal depiction of violence against Biden or Cortez, but instead was a symbolic representation of his disputes with the president and his fellow lawmaker over their policy views.
“The cartoon depicts the symbolic nature of a battle between lawful and unlawful policies and in no way intended to be a targeted attack against Representative Cortez or Mr. Biden,” Gosar said. “It is a symbolic cartoon. It is not real life. Congressman Gosar cannot fly. The hero of the cartoon goes after the monster, the policy monster of open borders.”