After Santos Expulsion Is Punted, a 'Shouting Match'

After vote to refer his case to House Ethics Committee, chaos on the Capitol steps
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 18, 2023 6:59 AM CDT
After Santos Expulsion Is Punted, a 'Shouting Match'
US Rep. George Santos speaks to reporters as he leaves the federal courthouse in Central Islip, New York, on May 10, 2023.   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

House Democrats' push to expel from Congress GOP freshman Rep. George Santos, recently indicted on a list of criminal charges, wasn't expected to earn the two-thirds majority needed to do so, and it didn't. The 221-204 vote Wednesday, which followed party lines, instead decided to refer a resolution on Santos to the House Ethics Committee, reports Axios. All Republicans voted for the motion; the five Democrats on the Ethics Committee voted "present," effectively abstaining. Santos has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him, refused to resign, and is making moves to run for reelection. More on the thwarted expulsion:

  • Reactions from fellow NY Republicans: Despite their vote not to expel, several New York GOPers made their feelings clear. Rep. Nick LaLota called Santos a "sociopath scam artist" and a "terrible liar," but said he hopes the Ethics Committee will have a ruling in two months' time. "No previous vote for expulsion of a member from the House has occurred without an accompanying report from the Ethics Committee [or another panel]," Rep. Andrew Garbarino, who's on the Ethics Committee, said in a statement. "A stain on this institution, a stain on the state of New York, a stain on Long Island, and a stain on the beloved Nassau County," Rep. Anthony Esposito said of his disgraced colleague, per ABC News.
  • Kevin McCarthy's perspective: "I think we can look at this very quickly and come to a conclusion on what George Santos did and did not do through Ethics, a safe bipartisan committee, equal number of Republicans and Democrats, and I think that's when you bring it back to Congress if it rises to the ability," the House speaker had noted at a presser on Tuesday.

  • Bowman-MTG battle: USA Today describes a "shouting match" that took place on the Capitol steps regarding the vote, including an interaction between Democratic Rep. Jamaal Bowman and GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene. "He's embarrassing y'all!" Bowman told Greene, referring to Santos. "Save the party. The party is hanging by a thread!" Her reply: "Biden is embarrassing. ... We gotta get rid of Biden to save the country!" She then started chanting, "Impeach Biden! Impeach Biden!" Watch it play out here.
  • Divergent Dems? That's according to Politico, which reports on internal wrangling on strategy among Democrats before the vote. Some Dems reportedly agreed it would be better to block McCarthy's push to send Santos' case to the Ethics Committee, while other, more senior Dems though it might set "bad precedent"—illustrating "the enduring generational divide within a caucus that's growing younger and more progressive after decades of leadership by an octogenarian trio."

  • Santos rep ditches him: Spokeswoman Naysa Woomer stepped down from her post on Wednesday, and she didn't hold back in criticism of her now ex-boss. "Unfortunately, you never took one point of professional advice given," she said in her resignation email, appearing to direct that comment at Santos, per Scripps News.
  • Santos defender's response: Anna Paulina Luna, whom Axios calls "one of Santos' few friends in Congress," had an interesting reaction to the commotion around the Long Island congressman: She introduced a resolution to expel Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff. Luna has been called "the new George Santos" for some murky details in her own bio.
  • Santos' take: The beleaguered congressman himself voted for the motion to send the resolution about him to Ethics. "There's a process in this country: Everybody is innocent until proven guilty," he told reporters after the vote, per Axios. On whether he'd comply with a recommendation from the committee to step down: "Well, of course, I'm not chaining myself here. If the Ethics Committee makes that recommendation, that's a different story."
(More George Santos stories.)

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