Rep. Paul Gosar doubled down on a bizarre anime-style video he posted to social media that showed him combating President Biden and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Gosar, an Arizona Republican, is facing widespread condemnation for the post but he didn’t apologize on Tuesday – instead issuing a statement that sought to frame the video as a metaphor for a fight against Democrats’ immigration policy.
“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 in the statement.
“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.”
The short video showed an animated figure with Gosar’s face posted to it stabbing a larger character with AOC’s face. Later, Gosar lunges at President Biden with two swords drawn, ready to slash.
Twitter flagged the post for violating its rules about hateful conduct but kept it visible with a message attached saying “it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible.”
The backlash was swift, with Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) calling the post “sick behavior” on Monday.
“In any workplace in America, if a coworker made an anime video killing another coworker, that person would be fired,” Lieu said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said earlier Tuesday Gosar should be investigated by police and the House Ethics committee.
But Gosar was defiant, claiming the video was a statement against amnesty for undocumented immigrants. He claimed AOC represented Democrats’ “open border amnesty agenda.
“The depiction of Mr. Biden pertains to his administration’s decision to leave the border open while illegal aliens invade from all points,” he said and later referred to the illegal immigration as a “plague.”