An interesting scene played out on the House floor as roll call voting was underway in the speaker’s race on Tuesday afternoon. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) were spotted by cameras having a friendly conversation.
The pair make for quite an odd political coupling since the far-right Gosar previously targeted Ocasio-Cortez, a member of the progressive “squad,” in late 2021 with a bizarre anime-influenced video that depicted him attacking her with a sword.
A clip of the two chatting quickly rocketed around Twitter with many observers wondering what exactly the pair were talking about. According to a source close to Ocasio-Cortez, Gosar came to her with concerns that Democrats might be planning to help Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) secure the speakership despite growing opposition to his bid from far-right members of the Freedom Caucus.
“Gosar heard from McCarthy that McCarthy could get Dems to leave [and] thereby lower the number of votes he needed,” the source explained.
The House speaker is elected with a simple majority of votes cast. If enough Democrats left, that would lower the total number of votes needed and could help put McCarthy over the edge. The source said Gosar asked Ocasio-Cortez if the rumor that Democrats planned to aid McCarthy was “true.”
“She said, no, it wasn’t,” the source explained.
Gosar is no stranger to rumors and off-base theories. He was one of the Republican members of Congress who texted President Trump’s former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, wild conspiracy theories about the 2020 election as they discussed efforts to overturn it. In recent months, Gosar also promoted debunked conspiratorial concerns about water fluoridation.
The source close to Ocasio-Cortez said they were not aware of whether or not Gosar’s violent anime video, which earned him a rare censure, came up in their conversation.
Amid the speculation about their chat, Gosar posted a seemingly joking tweet suggesting he was regaling Ocasio-Cortez with his take on the “combustion engine.” Gosar did not respond to a request for comment.