Paul Gosar a 'Moron' Who Deserved to Be Censured, GOP Strategist Says

A veteran Republican strategist has described GOP Rep. Paul Gosar as a "moron" who was rightly censured following a vote in the House of Representatives.

Mike Murphy, who has advised Republicans including the late Senator John McCain, told MSNBC's The 11th Hour with Brian Williams on Wednesday that he was "proud" of the two Republicans who had voted in favor of the censure.

The House voted 223-207 to reprimand Gosar, who represents Arizona's 4th district, after he shared a cartoon on Twitter and Instagram that showed him attacking Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

MSNBC's Williams asked Murphy about the vote on Wednesday.

"I'm proud of the two people who voted to censure him," Murphy said, referring to Republican Reps Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger.

"I've had a little outrage fatigue myself, but he should have been censured.

"He's got an IQ in the 30s. He's a moron. He took a Japanese sword-fighting cartoon and plastered some heads on it," he said.

Gosar shared the footage—from the Japanese anime series Attack on Titan—on November 7. The GOP lawmaker's head was crudely superimposed onto the animation's hero. At one point, "Gosar" used a sword to attack a monster that had Ocasio-Cortez' face superimposed on it. Another character altered to look like President Joe Biden was also attacked.

Murphy told MSNBC that he didn't think there was any "murder plot" against Democrats.

"But the fundamental issue is, it was violence and we're at a time in our politics where democratic norms are under attack, so you ought to have a hair trigger," he said.

"The fact is, Gosar's had a whole career of stupid things like this, including sketchy views on the January 6 insurrection. So, yeah, I wish 100 Republicans voted to censure him. He richly deserved it."

Murphy added that he hoped the "outrage machine" on both sides would not attempt to fundraise off the issue.

During the House debate on Wednesday, Gosar did not directly address Ocasio-Cortez but said the video in question had been "mischaracterized" and highlighted the fact that he had taken it down.

"I voluntarily took the cartoon down—not because it was itself a threat but because some thought it was," Gosar said. "Out of compassion for those who generally felt offense, I self-censored."

Minutes after the vote, Gosar retweeted a tweet that included the video and later issued a statement comparing the situation to the people who had been murdered in a 2015 terrorist attack at French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

"I remind everyone that pretending to be upset over a cartoon and wanting to suppress the ideas in a cartoon is what happened to the Charlie Hebdo magazine in France," his statement said.

"All right-thinking people condemned that then, and they should condemn the Democrats now for their violation of free speech," Gosar said.

The House resolution calls for Gosar to be publicly reprimanded on the House floor and for his removal from the two committees he sits on: Oversight and Reform and the Committee on Natural Resources.

Paul Gosar Attends a House Committee
Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) attends a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on May 12. The House has now voted to remove him from his committee assignments. Jonathan Ernst-Pool/Getty Images