Yesterday Arizona Republic reporters Robert Anglen and Ronald Hansen wrote that Arizona's two most far right congressmen, Paul Gosar and Andy Biggs deserve more blame than they've gotten for the insurrection and anti-democracy riot last week. "The man who has led the 'Stop the Steal' election protests nationally singles out Reps. Paul Gosar and Andy Biggs of Arizona for helping make Wednesday's pro-Trump gathering in Washington happen."
Ali Alexander: "I was the person who came up with the Jan. 6 idea with Congressman Gosar, Congressman Mo Brooks (R-AL) and then Congressman Andy Biggs. We four schemed up of putting max pressure on Congress while they were voting so that who we couldn’t lobby, we could change the hearts and the minds of Republicans who were in that body hearing our loud roar from outside.
In 2018, six of Paul Gosar's siblings warned Arizona voters that Gosar is a dangerous crackpot. They cut this video spot for his opponent:
Gosar is a crackpot dentist, multimillionaire and teabagger representing nut-country in Arizona, AZ-04. The district is massive, albeit mostly empty. It stretches from the exurbs east, north and west of Phoenix, down to Yuma up to Lake Havasu, through the Mohave Valley to Bullhead City to the Utah border. Prescott and Kingman are what passes for population centers. The PVI is R+21, by far the worst in the state. Trump won the district 67.7% to 27.5% in 2016. This cycle voters there gave Trump 68.0% and Gosar was reelected 278,002 (69.7%) to 120,484 (30.2%). He got more votes than another congressional candidate in the state. Still, most members of Congress see Gosar as a bad a joke, obsessed with insane conspiracy theories and utterly disinterested in the well-being of his constituents. He was the first congressional wing nut to claim the neo-Nazis and Q-Anon radicals who attacked the Capitol were actually Antifa activists in disguise. Gosar made it up and then neo-fascists Mo Brooks (AL) and Matt Gaetz (FL) amplified it on TV.
Over the weekend, the Arizona Republic reported that Gosar's siblings were calling for him to be expelled from Congress. Three of them reached out to Raúl Grijalva for help to get their brother kicked out of the House.
"We know him to be an extremist and we took that very seriously," said Seattle resident Jennifer Gosar, one of Paul Gosar's nine siblings. "I believe that my brother has been a constant perpetrator of misinformation. ... I've been incredulous at the lack of accountability thus far. I would think Wednesday would be certainly a line."
"He's set a dangerous sort of precedent along the 10 years he's been in office," said Tim Gosar of Fort Collins, Colo. "When you talk about what happened the other day, you're talking about treason. You're talking about overthrowing the government. That's what this is. If that doesn't rise to the level of expulsion, what does?"
Wyoming resident David Gosar said his brother "has parroted the exact same lies that Trump has" about the election.
"Five people are dead and Congress has been attacked," David Gosar said. "Somebody has to pay a penalty for it."
Peter Meijer (R-MI), heir to the supermarket chain that bears his name, is the freshman who won the Grand Rapids-based seat Justin Amash gave up. He kicked in about a million bucks from his own purse to win. Over the weekend, the Detroit News published an OpEd he wrote about his experience of the "heinous assault." Keep in mind as you read, that Meijer won the crowded primary by fully embracing Trump. As you'll see, he's since moved back towards a more mainstream posture... and is no fan of Paul Gosar.
On Wednesday afternoon in the House Chamber, I assured a colleague we were in the most secure possible place as we unpacked gas masks.
Tear gas had been deployed after violent protestors stormed the rotunda, but as we took cover under bulletproof chairs I assured my colleague we would be fine. After all, there had been incidents in the past, but Capitol Police had maintained control over the seat of our democracy since 1814.
The mob then rushed the barricaded doors to the chamber, trying to break them down. The illusion of security, of the sanctity of our constitutional order, collapsed. With guns drawn, police ordered us to evacuate, leading to chaos as we fled down corridors and into the tunnels beneath Capitol Hill. Several times our group of lawmakers found ourselves alone, with no police escort, fearful of what threats might lie around the next corner.
We eventually took shelter in a committee hearing room, coming to grips with the appalling assault on our democracy we had suffered first-hand. Some rioters were armed, and at least one carried flex-cuffs to take hostages. Pipe bombs were discovered and neutralized. Outside the Capitol, a gallows with a noose for our necks had been assembled. It was clear Capitol Police had underestimated the threat, but they were not alone.
I was one of the few Republicans who had already acknowledged Joe Biden as president-elect, and earlier in the week I had joined a handful of GOP colleagues in noting our constitutional responsibility to certify the Electoral College results. We had seen calls on the far right for the vice president to pull an imaginary “Pence Card” and overturn the election results.
To the fringe, Vice President Mike Pence’s failure to seize fictional powers was tantamount to treason and there were suggestions Pence be put to death. While the Capitol was being assaulted by his supporters who were duped into believing the election was in fact a landslide victory and the true results could be overturned, Trump egged on these violent delusions.
Before the assault, Trump had addressed the crowd and urged his loyalists to march on the Capitol, “to try and give our Republicans, the weak ones … give them the pride and boldness they need to take back our country.”
They took something alright. Hours later, after the Capitol was cleared of insurrectionists, with windows shattered and the smell of tear gas lingering, the consequences of his dangerous lies became clear. As we moved to accept Arizona’s electors, a fellow freshman lingered near a voting terminal, voting card in hand.
My colleague told me that efforts to overturn the election were wrong, and that voting to certify was a constitutional duty. But my colleague feared for family members, and the danger the vote would put them in. Profoundly shaken, my colleague voted to overturn.
An angry mob succeeded in threatening at least one member of Congress from performing what that member understood was a constitutional responsibility.
Worse yet, while a dead woman’s blood dried mere feet from our chamber, other Republican colleagues doubled down, repeating lies of a stolen election, baselessly deflecting blame for the Capitol assault from Trump loyalists to Antifa, doing whatever they could to justify, equivocate, rationalize or otherwise avoid taking responsibility for the consequences of their actions.
Blood has been spilled, and those who encouraged this insurrection are in too deep.
Those of us who refused to cower, who have told the truth, have suffered the consequences. Republican colleagues who have spoken out have been accosted on the street, received death threats, and even assigned armed security.
I have been called a traitor more times than I can count. I regret not bringing my gun to D.C.
It didn’t have to end like this, with five people dead, including a Capitol Police officer. This should be a moment of reckoning for the country as a whole, and the conservative movement in particular.
If the Republican party ever hopes to regain the public’s trust and lead the country forward after this heinous assault, it must first be honest with itself.