WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans led the effort Thursday to censure freshman Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., accusing him of being a disruption to the legislative process and distracting from the tasks of the job.
But the GOP floor fight proved mostly a symbolic vote, as House Republicans had already withdrawn a resolution censuring Gosar last month.
The House voted nearly unanimous against Gosar’s censure.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) had sought to censure Gosar earlier this month, but House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) moved to withdraw the resolution after Gosar agreed to apologize to a person named Martha who was allegedly harassed by the lawmaker.
The intervening months have left behind Gosar with a small number of supporters and increasing exasperation among his colleagues.
Among those frustrated with Gosar’s antics was former Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), who was among a group of conservatives who helped Gosar win election in 2016.
Jordan was in Congress when Democrats censured Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) and former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) won an election on the strength of his opposition to that censure in 2011.
Both Jordan and Walsh are now leading the Freedom Caucus in the House.
“If we have these kinds of things, then how are we going to get anything done?” Jordan said after the vote. “This is silly.”
Gosar said he’s hoping to be able to move past the censure resolution “more openly.”
“There are people who are a lot more passionate than I am who are working with me, and I think that they’re going to try to do what’s best for the country,” he said.
House Republicans have been working to expel Gosar from the House Freedom Caucus and to push him out of office.
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), who was elected to replace Gosar, said he’s backing a resolution to expel Gosar from the Freedom Caucus.
Last year, Gosar’s antics seemed to only please Republican leaders.
But now, GOP leaders who had once backed Gosar’s agenda — including Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) — are pulling out of the negotiations.
“They just make you look bad,” Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) said of Gosar’s conduct.
Franks said he regrets attending a fundraiser in 2017 for Rep. Ralph Abraham (R-La.) that also honored Gosar.
Abraham told The Washington Post this week that Gosar approached him at the fundraiser. Gosar said he wanted to thank him for showing “true commitment to border security” and for voting in favor of President Donald Trump’s federal funding request for the border wall.
“I’m a little bit glad Ralph didn’t go to the fundraiser,” Franks said.