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How Paul Gosar transformed from respected local dentist to far-right ‘freedom fighter’

“Any anime fans out there?”

A congressional Twitter account for US Rep Paul Gosar posted the query alongside a video – now considered greater than 3 million occasions on Twitter – depicting the far-right congressman as an animated character killing Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and swinging two swords at Joe Biden.

Rep. Paul Gosar Posts Homemade ‘Fantasy Video’ of Him Violently Murdering AOC

The video posted on 7 November is just the most recent try from the Arizona congressman and his staff to legitimise rhetoric and ideologies which have brewed amongst QAnon circles and conspiracy theory-dominated on-line hubs for years earlier than touchdown within the halls of Congress.

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Mr Gosar continues to borrow from the aesthetic palette of extremist far-right web message boards, areas the place photos lionising the congressman as a form of meme hero towards the so-called “deep state” are surrounded by hate speech, antisemitism and violent imagery.

The congressman – whose personal siblings want him out of office – has devoted the final a number of months to undermining the outcomes of the 2020 presidential election, amplifying a baseless narrative that the election was stolen from Donald Trump and his supporters, and never solely downplaying the assault on the US Capitol on 6 January but in addition celebrating the individuals who participated in threats towards his colleagues and who sought to violently overturn the votes of thousands and thousands of Americans.

But earlier than he joined Congress in 2011, he was extra seemingly to be recognised as Dr Gosar, the 2001 Arizona Dental Association’s 2001 Dentist of the Year and its one-time president, with a observe in Flagstaff.

His former sufferers knew him as their mild-mannered Republican physician, whose evolution from local dentist to extremist hero hasn’t been a shock to anybody watching the celebration’s transformation into one which has adopted Mr Trump’s grievances and welcomed the eye from on-line hives of disinformation and violent nationalism.

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“Gosar the dentist had to be the real Paul Gosar,” one former affected person told The Washington Post earlier this 12 months. “There’s no way that person was fake. Did he get brainwashed? Did the power get to this head? I honestly don’t know what could have happened.”

Following the Capitol riot, Mr Gosar has been on the centre of the GOP’s far-right embrace, however the six-term congressman has an extended historical past of ties to conspiracy theories and extremism, from his support for anti-government racist Cliven Bundy in 2014 to suggesting that the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia was funded by George Soros. Following that declare, his siblings accused him of sounding an “antisemitic dog whistle”.

Last 12 months, he voted towards a decision to condemn QAnon, after showing at occasions tied to the far-reaching conspiratorial motion.

“This dude is just a collection of wet toothpicks anyway,” US Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said in response to the anime clip. “White supremacy is for extremely fragile people and sad men like him, whose self-concept relies on the myth that he was born superior because deep down he knows he couldn’t open a pickle jar or read a whole book by himself.”

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Last month, Mr Gosar posted a now-deleted video to his congressional Twitter account that depicted him as a nationalist superhero saving a “blackpilled” Wojack meme character, set to a vaporwave-inspired soundtrack and shutting with the phrase “GOSAR GRINDSET,” the form of photos that flow into on Telegram or extremist boards.

In August, that account posted a photograph of him with a inexperienced arrow working down his physique, a reference to a posturing concept amongst pickup artists, incels and males’s rights activists circulating in fringe on-line teams.

He additionally has the eye of conspiracy theorist Ron Watkins, a person suspected of posting as “Q” on the 8chan boards that he administered.

Mr Watkins, who intends to run within the Republican main for Arizona’s 1st congressional district with the specific intent to “fix” the 2020 election outcomes, lately instructed his followers on Telegram that he “would never run against a freedom fighter like Dr Paul Gosar in the primary” within the occasion his race is impacted by new electoral maps.

“We need him and people like him in Congress,” Mr Watkins stated. “Therefore, when the redistricting map is complete, I will study the final map and make sure that I am not running against Dr Paul Gosar in the primary. I will move districts if necessary to make sure that happens.”

David Brill marketing campaign advert that includes household of rival Paul Gosar

In February, Mr Gosar appeared alongside white nationalist and Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes on the far-right America First Political Action Committee convention, marking the primary look of a sitting member of Congress on the occasion, the place Mr Fuentes reportedly instructed attendees that “white people are done being bullied” and praised the Capitol riot as “awesome”.

Mr Fuentes – a 23-year-old livestreamer and self-described “white majoritarian” who has championed the far-right Christian nationalist “Groyper” motion – later invited him to his “White Boy Summer” tour in July. Mr Fuentes has known as Mr Gosar “the best congressman in America”.

A put up from Telegram promoting the occasion claimed it was “paid for by Nicholas Fuentes and authorized by Gosar for Congress Committee.”

Mr Gosar appeared to defend his look: “Not sure why anyone is freaking out. I’ll say this: there are millions of Gen Z, Y and X conservatives. They believe in America First. They will not agree 100% on every issue. No group does. We will not let the left dictate our strategy, alliances and efforts. Ignore the left.”

He later instructed reporters that he had “no idea what’s going on” and that “there’s no fundraiser that I know of.”

Before the riot on 6 January, Mr Gosar attended a December rally in Arizona with election conspiracy theorist Ali Alexander, a distinguished determine within the “Stop the Steal” motion. That month, Mr Gosar additionally wrote a column accusing “the left” of staging a “coup d’etat” and known as Joe Biden a “usurper” to the presidency.

“Once we conquer the Hill,” he instructed the gang in Arizona, “Donald Trump is returned to being the president.”

On 6 January, he posted a photograph to Twitter of a pro-Trump crowd in entrance of the Washington Monument.

Paul Gosar describes Capitol insurrectionists as ‘peaceful patriots’

“Biden should concede,” he said. “I want his concession on my desk tomorrow morning. Don’t make me come over there.”

He additionally posted a photograph of rioters scaling the partitions of the Capitol with the caption “let’s not get carried away here”. He then posted the identical picture on the right-wing social media community Parler with the caption “Americans are upset”.

In the weeks that adopted, Mr Gosar repeatedly downplayed the assault impressed by the election fraud narrative promoted by the previous president and his allies. During a congressional listening to to examine the police response to the riot, Mr Gosar claimed that federal legislation enforcement arrests and investigations are a part of a “national security state” conspiracy to antagonise Republican voters and “peaceful patriots” who stormed the halls of Congress.

Mr Gosar’s marketing campaign additionally despatched out a fundraising e mail by which he accused the FBI of staging the assault and eulogised Ashli Babbitt, a lady who was shot by an officer as she climbed into the House chamber.

He has additionally claimed that the US Capitol Police officer who fatally shot her was “lying in wait” to “execute” the Air Force veteran and QAnon proponent who prophesied a “storm” towards the so-called “deep state” and who has emerged as a martyr for the far-right. The phrase “Who shot Ashli Babbitt?” has turn out to be a meme and rallying cry; Mr Trump has stated it on rally phases.

“My brother swore an oath to defend the Constitution against enemies foreign and domestic,” the congressman’s youthful brother Tim Gosar instructed CNN earlier this 12 months. “And he has blatantly broken that oath.”

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