Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) has served in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2011, representing Arizona’s highly conservative 4th Congressional District. In 2022, after redistricting, he ran for reelection in the 9th Congressional District with Trump’s endorsement and once he won the GOP primary in August, the race was over since no other candidates ran in the November general election.
Gosar is a member of the far-right House Freedom Caucus and the Republican Study Committee. He has maintained ties with white nationalist groups including Nick Fuentes and his America First Political Action Conference (AFPAC). Ali Alexander and other right-wing activists involved in organizing the rallies on Jan. 6 have alleged that Gosar was closely involved in planning the events that led to the attack on the Capitol.
On Nov. 17, 2021, fellow House members censured Gosar and stripped him of his committee assignments for posting an animated video clip in which he is shown attacking President Biden and killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). “House Democrats voted to take me off my committees because they did not like a [sic] animated cartoon my office posted,” he complains on his congressional website. “I can’t even link to the cartoon so you can see it and judge for yourself because it causes them to hyperventilate.”
January 6, 2021
- According to Rolling Stone, two organizers of the Jan. 6 rallies say that Gosar and other members of Congress were closely involved in planning protests to coincide with—and impact—the congressional Electoral College certification. According to the unnamed sources, Gosar also indicated that people involved with the plot to overturn the election could be granted a “blanket pardon” by the White House.
- Ali Alexander, the right-wing leader of the Stop the Steal movement, has claimed that Gosar and fellow Reps. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) and Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) helped plan the Jan. 6 events. “We four schemed up putting maximum pressure on Congress while they were voting,” Alexander said in a livestream.
- Gosar was slated to be a featured speaker at Ali Alexander’s “Wild Protest” outside the Capitol, but the event was canceled once the riot began.
- That day Gosar posted an image of rioters climbing the walls of the Capitol on the right-wing social media service Parler with the comment: “Americans are upset.”
- Gosar has referred to the Trump supporters who violently attacked the Capitol as “peaceful patriots” who are being shamefully harassed by the Justice Department.
- According to reporting by Politico, Gosar has suggested that he would not comply with a request to appear before the House Select Committee investigating the insurrection because “the Supreme Court said no”—a comment he declined to clarify.
- On Feb. 26, 2021, Gosar spoke at AFPAC, an annual white nationalist event hosted by Nick Fuentes, who called the events of Jan. 6 “awesome” after the congressman finished speaking.
The Big Lie
- Before ballots had even been counted, Gosar joined Trump in making false claims that the pandemic-era increase in absentee voting would make the election vulnerable to fraud.
- On Dec. 7, 2020, Gosar published an open letter to citizens of Arizona titled “Are We Witnessing a Coup d’etat?”—suggesting that Biden had stolen the election.
- Gosar has regularly used his online platform to spread false information about election fraud and voting irregularities since the 2020 election. As soon as Nov. 5, 2020, he claimed that Trump had won the election and instructed supporters in a tweet to “not let the leftists cheat, lie and steal this from us.”
- In the weeks following the election, Gosar backed the Stop the Steal movement in Arizona, using Twitter to promote a Phoenix rally on Nov. 5 and then tweeting video footage of the rally with the caption: “Patriots protecting their Lawfully elected President. They will not let this election be stolen.”
- On Dec. 17, 2020, Gosar and 18 other Republican members of Congress delivered a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and other congressional committee chairs demanding that Congress investigate the election. In a public statement issued simultaneously with the letter, Gosar wrote that he did not “trust the validity of this election.”
- On Dec. 23, 2020, Gosar shared a link to an article suggesting that then-Vice President Mike Pence was “required” to reject electoral ballots from contested states by Dec. 23.
- Since Jan. 6, Gosar has continued to double down on false claims of voter fraud, urging the state of Arizona to audit the 2020 election—and then, when the audit failed to show that any voter fraud had occurred, claimed that the audit was incomplete.
- On Nov. 6, 2020, Gosar asked Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) to “call a special session of the AZ Legislature under Article IV of our state constitution to investigate the accuracy and reliability” of the Dominion ballot software used in the state, claiming that “no election results should be certified until a complete audit of the Dominion machine tallies is made.”
- On Dec. 6, 2020, Gosar and Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) submitted a letter to the U.S. District Court in Arizona requesting “on behalf of” the Arizona GOP that the court support an audit of the election there. In the letter, the representatives claim there had been “reports of irregularities, variances, statistical improbabilities, and unorthodox measures” during the 2020 election and that those warranted an audit.
- Gosar supported the audit, led by Cyber Ninjas—a company owned by Doug Logan, a right-wing businessman who has supported the conspiracy theory that Biden stole the election from Trump.
- On Oct. 7, 2021, at a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on the Arizona election audit, Gosar claimed that the audit was incomplete and suggested that Trump could have actually won the 2020 election.