Arizona Republican Congressman Paul Gosar denied Tuesday that was "espousing" violence when he posted an altered anime video of himself assassinating Democratic New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
"I do not espouse violence or harm towards any member of Congress or Mr. Biden," Gosar said in a statement amid mounting backlash and calls for him to be censured or removed and face criminal charges, including from his sister Jennifer Gosar.
Gosar then explained the purported real message of the video.
"The video depicts the fight taking place next week on the House floor and symbolizes the battle for the soul of America when Congress takes up Mr. Biden's massive $4 trillion spending bill that includes amnesty for millions of illegal aliens already in our country and was not meant to depict any harm or violence against anyone portrayed in the anime," Gosar said. "This video is truly a symbolic portrayal of a fight over immigration policy."
He went on to say that image of Ocasio-Cortez in the cartoon "represents the Democrats' open border amnesty agenda," and that Biden's likeness "pertains to his administration's decision to leave the border open while illegal aliens invade from all points."
"A chaotic and lawless wind is blowing across our land," Gosar said in his statement, adding that the cartoon was "in no way intended to be a targeted attack against Representative Cortez and Mr. Biden."
"It is a symbolic cartoon. It is not real life," Gosars said, before switching to the third person. "Congressman Gosar cannot fly. The hero of the cartoon goes after the monster, the policy monster of open borders."
According to BuzzFeed News, a Republican source said that "House GOP leadership had reached out to Gosar's office asking he release a statement, but it was not clear if what Gosar released was what they had in mind."
A Gosar staffer previously defended the cartoon — which was flagged by Twitter as hateful content — by saying, "Everyone needs to relax."
Gosar also posted another meme Tuesday with one character saying, "Your cartoon anime scares me…" with the other responding "It's a cartoon. Relax."
Read his full statement below.
Rep. Paul Gosar in a new statement is addressing the blowback from the anime video that caught the attention of top Democrats. \n\n\u201cI do not espouse violence or harm towards any Member of Congress or Mr. Biden," he writes.pic.twitter.com/CwfzHcKVC7— Olivia Beavers (@Olivia Beavers) 1636498171