Extremist Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Arizona) deleted a disturbing and offensive tweet Tuesday that falsely claimed the gunman who killed more than 20 people at a Texas school was a “transsexual leftist illegal alien.”
The lawmaker wrote the message in response to a Twitter user who wondered if the shooter was a member of the far-right, “the kind of trash that” Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Gosar “travel to speak to?” before deleting their tweet.
The tweet was deleted about two hours after it was published.
Hours earlier, a shooter killed at least 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde.
Texas State Police identified the gunman as Salvador Ramos, 18. He was killed by responding officers, according to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R).
Gosar, an anti-immigration hardliner who routinely cozies up to white nationalists, was apparently promoting a false claim circulating on right-wing networks. Users shared images of a trans person unrelated to the attack claiming they were the shooter.
The lawmaker was censured and stripped of his committee assignments last year after he posted an anime video depicting him killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and threatening President Joe Biden. Only two Republicans voted with Democrats on the measure.
It did little to deter him from continuing with his increasingly radical behavior. In February, he spoke at the white nationalist America First Political Action Conference, prompting renewed calls for his expulsion from Congress.
Nonetheless, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) said Gosar would be able to regain his committee assignments if Republicans win control in November’s midterm elections.
Gosar’s own family members have called for his expulsion. His brother, Tim Gosar, said last year that he is “dangerous, unhinged and is reckless.”
Six of his nine siblings endorsed his 2018 election opponent, and several appeared in an ad in 2021 calling for him to be held accountable for his role in the Capitol riot.