Despite the majority of Republicans voting against his censure, Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) is reportedly, at minimum, annoying top Republicans, who supposedly complain that the Arizona congressman has “lost it.”
Appearing on CNN on Wednesday night, ABC News’ Jon Karl said that top Republicans privately bashed the GOP lawmaker, who has ties to the far-right, while Karl was conducting reporting for his new book.
“The way Republicans would talk about Gosar privately is entirely different from what you saw — the spectacle today of coming in and effectively defending him,” Karl said, likening Republicans’ private remarks on Gosar to the scathing criticism that some of the GOP lawmaker’s family members have publicly aired.
Karl claimed that Republicans privately vented that Gosar has “lost it” long before most of them ultimately voted against his censure.
“I’ve had top Republicans tell me about Gosar specifically before this episode, you know, ‘He’s not all there,’” Karl said.
Asked whether these top Republicans are keeping their criticism of Gosar to themselves because of the fear of being primaried, Karl replied that it’s a “real fear,” citing the backlash received by the handful of Republicans who voted to impeach former President Trump. During a speech at CPAC in February, Trump called out by name each of the 17 Republican lawmakers who voted to impeach or convict him and urged Republicans to “get rid” of them. The GOP lawmakers who bucked Trump and are up for re-election next year have since been met with pro-Trump challengers and death threats.
Karl then suggested that more Republicans may have been willing to come forward to support the censure resolution against Gosar if it didn’t strip him of his committee assignments.
“I would have loved to have seen a vote that didn’t strip the committee assignments just to see how many Republicans would have refused to actually simply condemn his words,” Karl said.
Karl’s remarks were issued hours after the House censured Gosar for posting an animated video of himself killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and attacking President Joe Biden on his social media accounts.
Only two Republicans joined the House Democrats in voting in favor of the censure resolution: Reps. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) — both of whom voted to impeach Trump earlier this year and serve on the Jan. 6 select committee. Rep. David Joyce (R-OH) voted “present.”
Although Gosar has refused to apologize for his tweet depicting violence against Democrats, Gosar reportedly apologized to the House Republican caucus in private.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has stood by Gosar, accusing Democrats of wielding an “abuse of power” before the censure vote.
“The Speaker is burning down the House on her way out the door,” McCarthy said.
Watch Karl’s remarks below: