Santos: 'I No Longer Have to Answer a Single Question'

The freshly expelled congressman leaves the Capitol after House vote
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 1, 2023 12:04 PM CST
Santos: 'I No Longer Have to Answer a Single Question'
Rep. George Santos, R-NY, leaves the Capitol after being expelled from the House of Representatives, Friday, Dec. 1, 2023, in Washington.   (AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough)

"The new whole number of the House is 434," declared somber House Speaker Mike Johnson on Friday morning. As in, no longer 435 because the chamber voted in historic fashion to expel GOP Rep. George Santos. So now what? Coverage:

  • It's immediate: Santos was stripped of his position immediately after the vote and didn't stop to chat long with reporters as he left the Capitol. "Why would I want to stay here?" he said, per the New York Times. "To hell with this place." He also seemed to relish being able to snub the reporters. "As unofficially already no longer a member of Congress, I no longer have to answer a single question," he said.
  • More contrite: In an appearance on Fox News before the vote, Santos struck a different note. "I've accepted the fate," he said, per Politico. "If it's God's will to keep me here, I will stay, and if it is his will to leave, I will leave. And I will do so graciously." He even took some responsibility: "Would I have not said certain things, would I have done things differently? Absolutely. I'm an adult and I'm mature enough to acknowledge that." Santos, an admitted serial liar, still faces federal charges over a slew of alleged election improprieties. A separate House ethics panel report earlier this month doomed him.

  • The votes: The vote of 311-114-2 met the two-thirds threshold necessary for expulsion. However, all four top House Republicans voted against expulsion, including Johnson, whose razor-thin majority just became even slimmer, per CNN. (There's also the risk to Republicans that Democrats will win the upcoming special election to fill the vacancy.) The only Democrats to vote against expulsion were Virginia's Bobby Scott and Georgia's Nikema Williams, per the Hill. Voting present were Democrats Al Green of Texas and Jonathan Jackson of Illinois.
  • The office: New York Gov. Kathy Hochul is expected to quickly schedule a special election to fill Santos' seat, per NBC News. Though Santos is gone, his staffers will continue to work in his office to help constituents, and they will be supervised by the House clerk.
  • The dishonored six: Santos is just the sixth member of Congress to be expelled. The Washington Post looks at the other five, all of whom were either convicted of a crime or found to be disloyal to the Union during the Civil War. Santos joins John Clark, John Reid, Henry Burnett, Michael "Ozzie" Myers, and James Traficant on the list.
(More George Santos stories.)

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