The world loves a gripping family drama – which is why millions of jaws are dropping at news that a Republican congressman is being “brutally” slammed by six of his siblings. In a television commercial. A television commercial in which they endorse their brother’s Democrat rival.
The ads are written like a thriller with a twist: the six men and women pile on in measured tones with accusations that Arizona Congressman and dentist Paul Gosar is a racist with no integrity – and only at the end is it revealed that these earnest critics are his brothers and sisters.
As US political reporter Joe Perticone Futter tweeted: “This has to be the most wow moment of any political ad I’ve ever seen.”
The family has said they are speaking out – and endorsing Democrat hopeful David Brill – for the sake of clearing the good name of their family.
Paul Gosar stoked the family feud by taking to Twitter and accusing his siblings of being sore losers after Hillary Clinton’s loss in the 2016 presidential election, comparing their campaign to the dark days of the Soviet Union.
My siblings who chose to film ads against me are all liberal Democrats who hate President Trump. These disgruntled Hillary suppporters are related by blood to me but like leftists everywhere, they put political ideology before family. Stalin would be proud. #Az04 #MAGA2018
— Paul Gosar (@DrPaulGosar) September 22, 2018
Sister Jennifer, a medical interpreter, says in the ad: “It’s horrible to have to do this. This isn’t just about Paul. It’s about our family.”
Conspiracy theorist, possibly unwell
Paul Gosar’s brother David, a lawyer, says to camera: “We gotta stand up for our good name. This is not who we are.”
David Gosar has also told The New York Times that he believes his brother is not well.
Paul Gosar, the eldest of 10 siblings, and running for his fifth rancorous term in the House, is a Donald Trump devotee, who has suggested that the army be called in to build Mr Trump’s border wall.
He is an outrageous conspiracy theorist who, in an October 2017 interview with Vice News, suggested that the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville was coordinated by “the left” with support from ageing Democrat billionaire donor George Soros, whom he labelled a Nazi collaborator.
“You know, George Soros is one of those people that actually helps back these individuals,” he 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.”
When things came apart
This was the beginning of the public rift with his siblings. In an open letter they wrote: “It is extremely upsetting to have to call you out on this, Paul, but you’ve forced our hand with your deceit and anti-semitic dog whistle.”
By then, Paul Gosar had appeared at an anti-Muslim rally in London, on behalf of a jailed alt-right activist, and vilified Muslims as “disgusting and depraved” – tapping into British tabloid enthusiasm for suggestions that Muslims are running a sex slave trade.
Unsurprisingly, Paul Gosar appears to be a divisive figure, even in his own party. In January, Democrats invited undocumented young immigrants – known as Dreamers – to Capitol Hill for the State of the Union address.
Paul Gosar called for Washington police and Attorney-General Jess Sessions to effectively conduct an ID shakedown and arrest any illegal aliens. As The New York Times headlined the story: “A Congressman Suggests ‘Dreamers’ Be Arrested. Capitol Hill Rolls Its Eyes.”
Gaston Gosar reportedly says, in one of the ads, that his brother sells out the environment for cash or influence, and is willing to roll back any environmental regulations “if it benefits his interests or puts a dollar in his pocket from one of his constituents or large mining groups”.
Sister Jennifer Gosar asks: “Where is his integrity? I don’t know.”