Editorial: Congressman Gosar should stop the grandstanding

Paul Gosar was elected to represent the people of this district as our representative in Washington, D.C. His words and actions reflect on all of us.

Once again, some of us have received phone calls from family and friends asking, “What’s up with your Congressman?”

Gosar made national news this week before the State of the Union. Democrats had invited as their guests some Dreamers, people who were brought to this country illegally by their parents and have lived most of their lives in the United States.

They have become part of the national debate since President Trump announced he was rescinding President Obama’s executive order (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) allowing them to stay in this country. Trump gave Congress until March to figure out what to do with the Dreamers.

Gosar issued these tweets:

“Today, Congressman Paul Gosar contacted the U.S. Capitol Police, as well as Attorney General Jeff Sessions, asking they consider checking identification of all attending the State of the Union address and arresting any illegal aliens in attendance.

“Additionally, Congressman Gosar asked that they arrest those using fraudulent social security numbers and identification to pass through security.

“Of all the places where the Rule of Law needs to be enforced, it should be in the hallowed halls of Congress. Any illegal aliens attempting to go through security, under any pretext of invitation or otherwise, should be arrested and deported.”

Members of both parties criticized Gosar.

AshLee Strong, a spokeswoman for House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, said Ryan “clearly does not agree” with Gosar’s suggestion.

Whether we agree or not, the current U.S. policy says Dreamers have the right to be in this country and to attend a State of the Union address, at least until March.

So, Gosar’s tweets were meaningless. Yet, he earned quite a bit of national news because of them, appearing in most major political publications on one of the biggest political days of the year.

And we suspect that was the point.

This is not the first time Gosar has used a major event to get his name into the news.

In September 2015, Gosar made national news with his boycott of Pope Francis’ address to Congress. He said he would skip the speech because he disagreed with the pope’s stance on climate change.

That same month he filed articles of impeachment against the director of the Environmental Protection Agency, a move that went nowhere and was called political theater.

Then this year his own family denounced him after he falsely claimed, offering no proof, that George Soros funded the Nazi rally in Charlottesville.

We send people to Washington to debate the great issues of the day. We send them to listen to all people, consider all evidence, and then do what they think is best to move our district, our state and our nation forward.

We want to take pride when our Congressman helps in achieving those goals. We don’t want to have to take phone calls from friends and family across the state and nation who want to know what’s wrong with our Congressman.

Rep. Gosar, you have stood up for human dignity, human rights and decency many times in the past. Don’t dishonor yourself or your position through these tactics of grandstanding and spreading false information. Get back to work making us proud.