After just two Republican lawmakers joined Democrats in a vote to censure Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) on Wednesday, ABC News’ Jonathan Karl reported that top Republicans had entirely different things to say about the far-right congressman behind the scenes.
“The way Republicans would talk about Gosar privately is entirely different from what you saw ― the spectacle today of coming in and effectively defending him,” Karl told Anderson Cooper on CNN. “They say he’s lost it … I’ve had top Republicans tell me about Gosar specifically before this episode, you know, ‘He’s not all there.’”
Karl suggested more Republicans might have been willing to support the resolution had it not also stripped Gosar of his committee assignments.
“I would have loved to have seen a vote that didn’t strip the committee assignments just to see how many Republicans would have refused to actually simply condemn his words,” Karl said.
He said Republicans have “a real fear” of being challenged in party primary elections for speaking out.
(You can view the clip of Karl’s appearance on CNN at Mediaite.)
Lindy Li, a Democratic political commentator, tweeted that “telling the truth behind closed doors is not enough.”
“No one cares what you say privately when you are too cowardly to tell the country the truth,” she wrote.
The House ultimately passed the vote, mostly along party lines, with Reps. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) joining Democrats to censure Gosar for posting an edited anime video that depicted him slashing the neck of an enemy with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s face superimposed on it, and then Gosar attacking President Joe Biden.
Republican House Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) did not condemn Gosar for his actions but instead warned Democrats they were setting a precedent of censures and committee losses should the GOP regain a House majority in the 2022 midterm elections.