Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and other lawmakers have criticized Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) for posting an edited video that includes a section in which Cortez's face is superimposed over a cartoon figure that gets attacked by a character that has Gosar's face superimposed on it.
Another section shows a figure with Gosar's face is leaping to attack President Joe Biden, though the video pauses with the character in midair and the attack is not shown.
"Any anime fans out there?" Gosar asked in a tweet sharing the video on Sunday. The lawmaker's tweet disappeared on Tuesday and Twitter indicates that the post has been deleted.
Gosar had also retweeted the now-unavailable tweet on his personal Twitter account, but as of Tuesday evening the retweeted content has vanished and a notice from Twitter says "This Tweet was deleted by the Tweet author."
"So while I was en route to Glasgow, a creepy member I work with who fundraises for Neo-Nazi groups shared a fantasy video of him killing me," Cortez tweeted on Monday. "And he'll face no consequences bc @GOPLeader cheers him on with excuses. Fun Monday! Well, back to work bc institutions don't protect woc."
In another tweet Cortez declared: "This dude is a just a collection of wet toothpicks anyway. White supremacy is for extremely fragile people &sad men like him, whose self concept relies on the myth that he was born superior because deep down he knows he couldn't open a pickle jar or read a whole book by himself."
Prior to the tweet disappearing from the platform, Twitter had flagged it with a notice saying that the post ran afoul of its rules regarding hateful conduct, but that the tweet would remain available on the platform anyway. Users had to click to bypass the notice in order to view the tweet.
"This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about hateful conduct. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public's interest for the Tweet to remain accessible," the social media company's notice had stated.
Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu of California blasted Gosar for "sick behavior" and said that "In any workplace in America, if a coworker made an anime video killing another coworker, that person would be fired."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) condemned Gosar and called upon House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to join her.
"Threats of violence against Members of Congress and the President of the United States must not be tolerated. @GOPLeader should join in condemning this horrific video and call on the Ethics Committee and law enforcement to investigate," Pelosi tweeted.
Gosar issued a statement in which he said that the video is symbolic and he does not promote violence toward the president or any lawmakers.
"I do not espouse violence or harm towards any Member of Congress or Mr. Biden. 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. This video is truly a symbolic portrayal of a fight over immigration policy," Gosar said.
The video is still currently available on Gosar's Instagram profile.
Content warning: The bare backside of the figure that gets attacked appears to be briefly visible.