AUSTIN (KXAN) — Rep. Michael McCaul, a Texas Republican, voted against censuring his colleague for posting a violent animated video but still criticized him for doing so.
McCaul, who represents Texas’ 10th District in the U.S. House, explained Thursday why he declined the move to censure Rep. Paul Gosar. The Arizona Republican posted an anime-style video depicting him killing Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and attacking President Joe Biden.
Two Republicans, Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, joined the House Democrats Wednesday in a vote of 223-207 to censure Gosar and also remove him from his House committee assignments.
When asked Thursday during an interview with KXAN if what Gosar did was appropriate, McCaul said, “I wouldn’t have done it.”
“It was sort of a bizarre, Japanese cartoon,” he added. “It was very hard to see what they were talking about. It was a very fast-moving cartoon.”
Gosar initially deleted the tweet with the video days ago amid the backlash that unfolded, but he retweeted it late Wednesday shortly after the House vote.
Censuring a lawmaker rarely happens in Congress — in fact, it’s only happened to 24 House members. It’s considered the strongest punishment the House can issue short of expulsion, which requires a two-thirds vote.
The last lawmaker to receive the rebuke came in 2010, when Democratic Rep. Charles Rangel, the former chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, faced accusations of financial misconduct. McCaul explained the role he played in those proceedings when he served on the House Committee on Ethics and decried how the latest vote on Gosar did not follow that same process.
“We have a process, a due process, in the House of Representatives to walk that through the ethics committee. I presented that evidence as sort of the lead prosecutor, if you will, laying out the case, the facts and the evidence about [Rangel’s] tax evasion as he chaired the tax committee,” McCaul said. “We then brought that to a vote on the committee, where we voted to censure him, and he was later censured on the floor. What I worry about in this case — I don’t condone the behavior, but I do worry about the process of not going through ethics committee and just throwing this on the floor for a vote.”
Because of the Gosar vote, McCaul raised the possibility the Republicans could pursue a censure against Democratic lawmakers if they regain control of the House next year.
“It sets a dangerous precedent in other cases that we could have easily — and if we get the majority — could have easily brought against some of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle who have said some very destructive, dangerous things and made some antisemitic remarks as well,” McCaul said.
McCaul announces reelection bid
McCaul also announced he filed paperwork Thursday to officially run for reelection in House District 10, which stretches all the way from Austin to the Houston suburbs and includes Bastrop, Colorado, Fayette, Harris, Lee, Travis, Washington and Waller Counties.
McCaul said he believes the Republicans stand a “good chance” of getting the majority back in the House. If that happens, he expects to become the first Texan to serve as chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
“With so much going on in the world today in foreign policy, I think it’s critically important right now,” McCaul said.
The state’s recent redistricting process changed the boundaries for his current district to now include fewer Houston suburbs and more of western Travis County in the Lakeway area. He noted the adjustments will bring the Texas A&M University into the district.
“With the Army Futures Command now in Austin working with the University of Texas and Texas A&M, I believe there’s a lot I can do in the national security space when it comes to research and development on these advanced technologies and these advanced weapons systems that are so vitally important to our national security,” McCaul said. “Particularly when you look at what is happening now in China, for instance, and their aggression towards Taiwan and Putin and Russia and their aggression towards Ukraine. Of course Iran is getting closer to a nuclear bomb. We need these universities. We need the research and development, and I’m looking forward to working with them as patriots to protect the United States and our national security interest.”