Rep. George Santos (R-NY) gave a press conference on Thursday morning to discuss the upcoming vote to expel him. The vote will take place Friday, though debate is expected on Thursday. Numerous resolutions have been brought forth by members from both parties in light of a report that was released earlier this month from the House Ethics Committee. After previous resolutions failed to get the necessary two-thirds to pass, this effort looks this more likely to succeed, especially since fellow Republicans are willing to vote to expel. Not only did Santos make clear during the presser that he wasn’t resigning, he also spoke to a plan of his to take down another embattled New Yorker, Democratic Rep. Jamaal Bowman.
“Let’s talk about consistency,” Santos offered. “We have a member of Congress that earlier this year took a plea deal to obstructing a Congressional hearing,” before clarifying “that’s not the plea deal he took, right, I’m kidding.”
“He took a plea deal for pulling a fire alarm, a fire alarm which obstructed and delayed an official hearing and proceeding on the House floor. Now had that been any other person, had it been one of the members of the media,” Santos continued, gesturing to the press in attendance. “Had it been a Republican member of Congress, we all know that that person would have been charged with obstructing a Congressional hearing, just like the somewhat 140 people sitting in prison right now because of January 6,” he also pointed out.
“But Jamaal Bowman gets a pass. That’s why today, at noon, I’m going to be introducing a privileged motion for expulsion for convicted and guilty pleaded Congressman Jamaal Bowman and I stand there, I think that that’s consistency. Let’s hold our own accountable, but let’s make sure that we do it with the precedent of the House,” Santos said.
On September 30, as the House was voting to avert a government shutdown, Bowman pulled the fire alarm, despite there being no fire. He was charged with a misdemeanor by the DC Attorney General last month and pled guilty. After a deal was struck, the charge will be withdrawn in three months if Bowman pays a $1,000 fine and writes an apology letter, and the House Ethics Committee declined to take further action on him.
While Santos is facing federal numerous charges, he has yet to stand trial or be convicted. A press release from the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York on October 10 noted that “Congressman George Santos Charged With Conspiracy, Wire Fraud, False Statements, Falsification of Records, Aggravated Identity Theft, and Credit Card Fraud.”
A statement accompanying the House Ethics Committee report highlighted that there was “substantial evidence” to show that Santos “knowingly caused his campaign committee to file false or incomplete reports with the Federal Election Commission; used campaign funds for personal purposes; engaged in fraudulent conduct in connection with RedStone Strategies LLC; and engaged in knowing and willful violations of the Ethics in Government Act as it relates to his Financial Disclosure (FD) Statements filed with the House.”
Reporting from The Hill offered a note about Santos’ resolution, and also included statements from Bowman:
Santos said he will call his measure to expel Bowman to the floor as a privileged resolution when the House opens for legislative business at noon, a maneuver that forces the chamber to act on the measure within two legislative days. Leadership, however, will likely hold a procedural vote instead of a referendum on the actual legislation, shielding the chamber from having to weigh in on expelling Bowman directly.
Bowman, who for months has called on Santos to resign, was charged with a misdemeanor last month after he pulled the fire alarm during a vote to fund the government.
He called Santos’ expulsion effort “meaningless.”
“No one in Congress, or anywhere in America, takes soon-to-be former Congressman George Santos seriously. This is just another meaningless stunt in his long history of cons, antics, and outright fraud,” he said in a statement.
House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-MN) had previously highlighted the difference between Santos and Bowman.
Whip Tom Emmer when asked about whether he supports removing Santos:— Olivia Beavers (@Olivia_Beavers) November 29, 2023
“If people think that’s appropriate, then Jamaal Bowman should be expelled,” Emmer said, noting Bowman convicted of a crime.
He didn’t say how he’d vote on Santos.
House Republican leadership is not whipping the vote, and Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) who affirmed “we wouldn’t.” He noted that “I trust that people will make that decision thoughtfully and in good faith,” adding “I personally have real reservations about doing this, I’m concerned about a precedent that may be set for that.”
Other Republicans are nevertheless voting to expel.
"Santos is toast," GOP Rep. Ryan Zinke told me.— Manu Raju (@mkraju) November 29, 2023
"I think the Ethics report says it all," said Rep. Greg Pence, who plans to vote to expel.
BUT Speaker Johnson saying he has "real reservations" over the precedent makes it uncertain whether they can get 2/3s majority to expel pic.twitter.com/0b8J8mfwwA
A precedent would indeed be set if Santos were expelled, as he would be the first member expelled who hasn’t been convicted of a crime or fought for the Confederacy.
As he talked about his resolution for expelling Bowman, Santos also offered that “if the House wants to start [a] different precedent, and expel me, that is going to be the undoing of a lot of members of this body, because this will haunt them in the future, where mere allegations are sufficient to have members removed from office when duly elected by their people in their respective states and districts.”
If George Santos is expelled from the House soon after Thanksgiving recess, he will be the only member in US history to be expelled who has not been convicted in court or who was not fighting for the Confederacy. pic.twitter.com/YzTUsTeR9j— Manu Raju (@mkraju) November 16, 2023