House Republicans are "embroiled in messy internal spats" and suffering from "self-inflicted wounds" that could hurt their chances of regaining the majority in 2022, Politico reported Wednesday night.
The latest example came earlier Wednesday, when far-right Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) was censured for posting a cartoon video of him murdering Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).
"At the same time, some rank-and-file Republicans are still pushing to punish their own colleagues for backing a bipartisan bill reviled by former President Donald Trump," Politico reported. "That turmoil is no longer an anomaly for the GOP. The party's emboldened conservative agitators have repeatedly stoked controversies that threaten to become all-consuming distractions, leaving House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to seek out a fire extinguisher."
Rep. Daniel Meuser (R-Pa.) told Politico it's "unfortunate" and "a shame these self-inflicted injuries occur," while several other Republicans reportedly said privately that Gosar's "antics brought Republicans an unneeded diversion in an otherwise upbeat month." When McCarthy tried to stage a news conference Wednesday criticizing President Joe Biden's social spending plan, the first question was about Gosar, prompting him to end the event.
Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) seemingly undercut party leaders' defense of Gosar when he told Politico that former Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) doled out harsher punishments for lesser offenses. "You don't wear your tie right, John Boehner was going to go after you," Upton said.
Upton is among those who've received death threats after voting for the infrastructure bill, after Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene posted their phone numbers on Twitter. Greene and others are now calling for Upton and the other 12 Republicans who voted for the infrastructure bill to be stripped of their committee assignments.
"But other Republicans have grown exasperated with GOP members going after each other," Politico reported.
Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) told the site, "I never even saw the video Gosar posted. It's probably stupid. And this movement to punish those 13 Republicans is also stupid."