Republican Representative George Santos, who is under fire for his ethics report, is still refusing to step down, even though he faces an expulsion vote tomorrow. Santos claims he is the victim of bullying.
Defiantly lashing out at fellow lawmakers during a contentious news conference outside the Capitol on Thursday, Santos showed no signs of backing down. “Because if I leave, they win,” Santos explained when asked why he would not step down. The bullies will regroup if I depart. Here we have bullying.
After the House Ethics Committee released its dismal report, Santos stated he would not seek reelection. He has already rejected the inquiry, but that is not all.
With the words “I cooperated,” Santos refuted the claim in the report that he had not contributed significantly to the probe.
“I supplied them, and most of the documents they used were from my attorney,” he stated. “I will not be dissecting the report,” he stated afterwards. For me, doing so right now would be counterproductive. “I will unpack it completely and go queue by queue” at some point.
Additionally, Santos stated his intention to bring a motion to remove New York Democratic Representative Jamaal Bowman from office for falsely activating the fire alarm in the absence of a genuine emergency. Bowman admitted guilt on a misdemeanour allegation of intentionally setting off a fire alarm in a building housing House offices.
It’s consistent. In making his announcement, Santos added, “Let’s hold our own accountable.”.
“This is just another pointless stunt in his lengthy history of frauds, stunts, and blatant fraud,” Bowman stated in a statement.
Despite Santos’s resilience in the face of earlier efforts to have him removed from office, a damning report released earlier this month by the House Ethics Committee found that he “sought to fraudulently exploit every aspect of his House candidature for his own personal financial profit.” This latest effort is sure to be even more damaging.
Santos stated on Thursday that he is uncertain about the outcome of the vote to remove him from office and that doing so would establish a harmful precedent.
There have only ever been five MPs expelled from the chamber, making it the most severe form of punishment for a lawmaker. It has a lofty hurdle to jump: a two-thirds majority vote.
Santos has pled not guilty to 23 federal counts, including those pertaining to the Ethics Committee probe as well as claims of fraud involving Covid-19 unemployment benefits, misuse of campaign funds, and false statements regarding his personal income on House transparency reports.
Due process concerns regarding expulsion have been voiced by numerous Republicans as they consider their voting options, given that Santos has not yet been convicted in a court of law. On the other hand, some have contended that the gravity of the ethics probe makes the expulsion of the representative inevitable.
The outcome of the vote to remove Santos is still uncertain.
Santos threatened to eliminate his fellow lawmakers before leaving the House if they tried to oust him later that day, Thursday.
After pledging to “name names” and expose corrupt lawmakers, he told reporters that he would “have fun on my way out” of Congress and that he would leave quietly on Friday if ousted. He flat-out denied knowing who would be the targets of such violations, but vowed that there would be “enough to make your hair stand.”
“I will follow the same course of action as my colleagues and report any relevant information to the committee for their investigation,” he stated.
Additionally, Santos mentioned that he had “made peace” with the idea that Friday might be his last day.
House Speaker Mike Johnson expressed his “real reservations” regarding the decision to eject the lawmaker, stating that he is concerned about the precedent it may establish.
It may be more difficult for some Republicans to back an expulsion vote if Johnson’s statement about having “reservations” does not give members political cover to vote in favour of the measure.
“We haven’t dominated the vote, and we certainly wouldn’t,” Johnson stated initial Wednesday. I have faith that individuals will make that choice with all due consideration and honesty. In my opinion, this could set a dangerous precedent, so I’m rather hesitant to do it.