Former US president Donald Trump has given his endorsement to Paul Gosar, one day after the Arizona Republican was censured by the House of Representatives over a violent cartoon video depicting a character with his face killing one with New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s.
Trump, in a statement, hailed Gosar as “a loyal supporter of our America First agenda” and “highly respected in Arizona”, and said he “has my Complete and Total Endorsement!”.
The statement made no mention of the House’s rare rebuke – just the fourth in nearly 40 years – which also stripped Gosar of his two committee assignments, on the Natural Resources and the Oversight and Reform panels.
Gosar has said the video, which was produced by his taxpayer-funded office, had been mischaracterised and was not intended to be a threat.
In addition to Ocasio-Cortez, the video also depicted Gosar’s character attacking President Joe Biden with swords.
Gosar is no stranger to controversy.
He has made appearances at fringe right-wing events, including a gathering in Florida last February hosted by a man who has promoted white supremacist beliefs, and earlier this year looked to form an America First Caucus with other hardline Republican House members that aimed to promote “Anglo-Saxon political traditions”.
Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, meanwhile, has called the censure an “abuse of power” by Democrats and signalled payback should Republicans retake the House majority next year.