Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., is right now in the middle of an embarrassingly public family squabble. The origin of the controversy? Many of his closest relatives — specifically six of his nine siblings — don't think the constituents of Arizona's 4th congressional district should return him to the House of Representatives, and have instead endorsed his Democratic opponent, David Brill.
This article first appeared in Salon.
"Not one of my siblings lives in Arizona and my opponent's policies are out of sync with what Arizona wants and the country needs. I will not be deterred from fighting for our conservative values regardless of these attacks. #az04 #MAGA2018," Gosar wrote in a tweet on Saturday.
Shortly thereafter he added a second tweet, one which claimed that "my siblings who chose to film ads against me are all liberal Democrats who hate President Trump. These disgruntled Hillary suppporters are related by blood to me but like leftists everywhere, they put political ideology before family. Stalin would be proud. #Az04 #MAGA2018"
His third tweet closed with a passive aggressive swipe at the siblings who have denounced him: "You can’t pick your family. We all have crazy aunts and relatives etc and my family is no different. I hope they find peace in their hearts and let go all the hate.
To the six angry Democrat Gosars—see you at Mom and Dad’s house! #AZ04 #MAGA2018"
A few hours later, Gosar retweeted a Twitter user who wrote, "I feel bad for #RepPaulGosar that he has such hateful siblings who, like typical little minded liberals, can't accept that their brother doesn't hold the same views as them! How pathetic that they actively campaign against him. Shame on them! #VoteGosar" He eventually retweeted a second Twitter user who attacked Gosar's siblings as not residing in Arizona despite telling the residents of his district how they should vote.
He also retweeted a New York Times article summarizing the controversy before gloating over receiving his mother's support: "I guess I really am Mom’s favorite! 'I share the same philosophy and policies that Paul does,” she said. “He’s done a hell of a job for Arizona, and they love him.' Awww. Thanks #mom #Az04 #MAGA2018"
Perhaps most colorfully, Gosar also tweeted a link to the AC/DC song "Problem Child," perhaps in an effort to add some levity to what would otherwise be a personally painful and embarrassing incident for him.
So what did Gosar's wayward siblings say about him?
In one ad, "A Family Defends Its Honor," various Gosar siblings — including an engineer, lawyer, medical interpreter and private investigator, according to Politico — say that although it pains them to speak out against their sibling, they simply could not stay quiet as he pursued policies which they perceived as harmful to the people of their state.
"It’s intervention time, and intervention time means that you go to vote, and you go to vote Paul out," declared Tim Gosar, the private investigator.
In another ad, a Gosar sibling named Grace (a doctor), says that "if they care about health care, they care about their children's health care, they would hold him to account. If they care about jobs, they would hold him to account."
Another sibling, Jennifer (the medical interpreter), said that "if he actually cared about people in rural Arizona, I bet he'd be fighting for social security, for better access to health care. I bet he'd be researching, 'What is the most insightful water policy to help the environment of Arizona sustain itself and be successful?'"
A third video, which was published under the title "Paul Gosar Is Not Working For You," expressed similar themes as the previous two spots.