Gabby Giffords’ former congressional district, Arizona’s 8th, borders Arizona’s 4th, the district currently represented by Republican Rep. Paul Gosar, who on Wednesday was censured and stripped of his committee assignments by the House of Representatives for posting a violent animated video depicting himself killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).
Giffords stopped representing Arizona’s 4th in 2012, a year after she and 19 others were shot at a public event outside a Safeway in Tucson. Six people died during the attack, and Giffords suffered a sever brain injury. She responded to Gosar’s video in a statement provided to Rolling Stone on Thursday.
“Threatening political figures with violence is abhorrent and inexcusable,” said Giffords, now a gun safety advocate. “Not only do these threats have real consequences for those who are targeted, as well as their families and their staff; they undermine our democratic process. It’s up to our elected leaders to confront the dangers that violent threats, armed intimidation, and violence pose to our democracy. It’s up to every single one of us to decisively condemn violent rhetoric each and every time we hear it.”
Gosar was unapologetic as the House prepared to vote on the censure resolution on Wednesday, insisting on the House floor that the video “directly contributes to the discussion and the understanding of the real-life battle” over immigration. Gosar defended himself and fellow Republicans defended Gosar by noting that he took down the video, but he posted it again after he was censured, only to remove it again hours later.
Former President Trump gave Gosar his “complete and total endorsement” on Thursday, the day after he was censured. “Congressman Paul Gosar has been a loyal supporter of our American First agenda, and even more importantly, the USA,” Trump wrote, adding that “Paul is a Congressman who is highly respected in Arizona.”