Paul Gosar Versus His Siblings: Brother Calls Congressman an 'Embarrassment'

Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar doubled down on Wednesday on debunked theories regarding who was behind August's white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar doubled down on Wednesday on debunked theories regarding who was behind August's white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Gage Skidmore/Flickr
Paul Gosar's brother called him "an embarrassment" to the family on Friday, following up on a published letter by seven siblings blasting the Arizona congressman for his conspiracy theories.

Gosar doubled down on those theories in a Wednesday interview on CNN, then later on a Facebook Live video.

His siblings had their blistering letter published in the Kingman Daily Miner on October 24, criticizing the Prescott congressman for his debunked theories about August’s white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. “Paul’s deceit was uttered without a shred of evidence,” they wrote.

In an interview earlier this month with Vice News Tonight, Gosar floated the theory, propagated previously by fringe personalities like Alex Jones, that billionaire George Soros somehow instigated or bankrolled the white supremacists and neo-Nazis who converged on Charlottesville.

Gosar also raised the false accusation that Soros, an 87-year-old investor and Holocaust survivor, "turned in his own people to the Nazis" in Hungary.

Gosar's brother David told Phoenix New Times on Friday, "At what point do you draw the line in your family?"

“It’s just despicable," he said. "To slander a guy like that — you know, an 87-year-old guy, never did anything wrong to you — and you just slander him without any proof, just based on some Alex Jones bullshit. And then you don’t even have the guts or decency to apologize."

David Gosar, 56, is an attorney in Jackson, Wyoming. He explained that lately, his siblings can't hide their disdain for their brother's politics.

"There’s no dispute about our opposition to him. It’s something that has been building for some time, watching what he does up there in Congress. It’s ridiculous," David Gosar said.

David Gosar said their parents are conservative Republicans in Wyoming. But unlike the congressman's views, David Gosar said that most of the family's 10 children are "not at all conservative." Another Gosar brother, Pete, ran unsuccessfully for governor of Wyoming in 2014 as a Democrat.

"We prefer to think when we come up with solutions to problems — have actual ideas and facts and use our reason. You know, stuff like that," David Gosar said.

Jennifer Gosar, 44 and the youngest of the Gosar siblings, said it’s difficult to speak out against a member of the family. But the congressman’s comments have been so egregious and misguided that she felt she had no choice.

"I have a pretty good idea how uninformed he is, and his hubris is honestly pretty impressive,” Jennifer said.

In his interview with Vice, Congressman Gosar also said that white nationalist Jason Kessler, who organized the “Unite the Right” rally, was an "Obama sympathizer." He then turned his attention to Soros.

“You know, George Soros is one of those people that actually helps back these individuals,” Gosar told Vice. “Who is he? I think he’s from Hungary. I think he was Jewish. And I think he turned in his own people to the Nazis.”

“Do you think George Soros funded the neo-Nazis who marched in Charlottesville?” reporter Elle Reeve asked.

“Wouldn’t it be interesting to find out?” Gosar said.

Of course, none of this is remotely close to the truth. Kessler has said he used to support Obama, but then took a hard-right turn into white nationalism. There's no evidence to suggest he organized the Charlottesville rally as some sort of leftist plant. Moreover, Soros’ foundation quickly condemned Gosar’s remarks. The billionaire, who is Jewish, was just 14 years old when the war ended and survived the Holocaust while living in Nazi-occupied Hungary.

The critics in his family noted that Gosar’s comments bear similarities to anti-Semitic attacks on Soros spread by the far-right fringe.

“It is extremely upsetting to have to call you out on this, Paul, but you’ve forced our hand with your deceit and anti-[S]emitic dog whistle,” his siblings wrote in the letter.

Jennifer Gosar, who works at a Seattle-area hospital, said her criticisms of their brother aren't based on some liberal tilt or preference for George Soros. "I have no love for billionaires,” she said, adding, "I just think it’s despicable that someone would spread a slander and a lie.”

Yet this week, Gosar didn't back down from his remarks.

On Wednesday, CNN reporter Randi Kaye cornered Gosar at a Capitol stairway. After asking him first about Arizona Senator Jeff Flake’s decision to leave the Senate, she turned to his Charlottesville comments: “You had said that the Charlottesville white nationalist march was created by the left, carried out by an Obama sympathizer —”

"I'd think you'd better go back and recheck that," Gosar said. "I said, wouldn't it be interesting to find that.”

When asked for proof, Gosar said, “Stay tuned. Check out my website later this evening.” The reporter pressed him on the claims about Soros and the rally, saying they had been debunked. Gosar grew agitated.

“It's not been debunked. Absolutely not debunked whatsoever," he said, before mentioning CNN's coverage of "what's going on with the Clinton administration right now with the dossier."

“You're not real news, you're fake news,” he added, before walking away.

Later, Gosar's website posted an item that linked to two pieces. One is a radio segment from local right-wing commentator Darin Damme of KTAR (92.3 FM), who defended Gosar and spun off feverish Charlottesville conspiracy theories of his own. The other link is a YouTube clip from a 1998 interview of Soros by 60 Minutes, which merely confirms that Soros, as a child, lived in hiding in Hungary while the Nazis carried out the Holocaust.

In the final minutes of a Facebook Live video on Wednesday, Gosar delivered a hard-to-follow response to his constituents regarding the conspiracy controversy, but ultimately said he stands by his statements.

"It was very interesting to see what HBO and the main media tried to do in character assassination to me," Gosar said. "Maybe some of you in Kingman actually saw something even worse," in an apparent reference to his siblings' letter.

When asked about Gosar's recent comments, David Gosar had a message for his brother.

“Hey Paul, you’re doing a perfectly fine job of assassinating your own character without anybody else’s help," David Gosar said.

In his live video, Gosar urged viewers to go to his website to learn about George Soros.

"Don't let me influence you," Gosar said. "These are pictures, these are people that came and defended by investigative reporting, and did their due diligence. Don't go off the cuff. Spend the time. There's plenty of videos you can look at. This is a disturbing world."

Multiple requests for comment to the congressman's office for his take on the controversy and his family's letter were not returned.

In their letter, Gosar's siblings said that the congressman owes Soros an apology and added that "horrendous lies" have no place in their family.

"Those aren’t our family values or the values of the small Wyoming town we grew up in. Character assassination wasn’t revered," they wrote. "Lies and distortions do reveal much about the character of the congressman of Arizona’s 4th congressional district, however."

At the end of the statement, they wrote, "We look forward to your apology on Vice."
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Joseph Flaherty is a staff writer at New Times. Originally from Wisconsin, he is a graduate of Middlebury College and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.
Contact: Joseph Flaherty