Growing up in small-town Wyoming, the Gosar kids never lacked for companionship. There were 10 of them — seven boys, three girls — and they were loving and close.
“We always had a baseball game or a football game or something to do because we always had our friends to do it with right at home,” recalled Tim Gosar, one of the middle boys.
The youngest of the clan, Jennifer Gosar, bears a striking resemblance to the oldest, Paul, whom she remembered as “kind of this golden, sweet big brother.”
It’s been years, though, since either sibling has spoken with Paul Gosar, now a Republican congressman from Arizona. They use words like racist, corrupt, ignorant and hateful to describe him.
“He is, in my opinion, about as despicable a politician as I have ever seen,” said Dave Gosar, another of his brothers.
The poison-filled politics of the past many years have cleaved the country in deep and profound ways. There are vast and stark differences among lawmakers over any number of policy issues. There have been, as well, countless small ruptures, less visible but more personal and agonizing: friends who are no longer friends, relatives who no longer speak, parents who have become estranged from their children.
What makes the Gosars extraordinary is their brother’s position in Congress and the public steps his kin have taken to condemn his actions and show their contempt. In 2018, six of Gosars’ siblings appeared in campaign ads urging their brother’s defeat. (He was overwhelmingly reelected in his deeply conservative district.)
Now, after watching Gosar spread lies that helped fuel January’s Capitol insurrection, several of them are trying to get him kicked out of office. “We feel it’s our moral obligation,” Dave said. “We have to come out, we have to do this.”
It has been wrenching nonetheless.
“If you believe in things — integrity, character, honesty — when those things are compromised, those things are being diminished, when those things are being overrun, you better stand up,” Tim said. “I don’t care if it’s your brother or somebody else. You have an obligation.”
The Gosars were raised Catholic and Republican in southwestern Wyoming, the kind of place with more land and sky than buildings or people. Their father, an oil field geologist, and their stay-at-home mom were both active in the GOP, but talk around the dinner table, mainly about current events, was never dogmatic.
“We used to have lively discussions,” said Dave, an attorney in Jackson, Wyo. “It was a lot of fun. A lot of teasing, joking.”
Paul’s siblings were surprised when their oldest brother announced in 2009 he was running for Congress. He had no political background — Gosar was a dentist in Flagstaff, Ariz. — but he emerged as a favorite of the tea party movement, winning the endorsement of right-wing luminaries including Sarah Palin and Joe Arpaio, the Latino-harassing sheriff of Maricopa County. Gosar unseated a Democratic…