Embattled Congressman George Santos appeared to enjoy the news conference he prearranged on the steps of the Capital building this morning smiling often, and even laughing. As far as the congressman is concerned, his possible expulsion from the House of Representatives — which will more than likely be up for a vote tomorrow — is unfair and sets a dangerous precedent. Having people removed from office that have not been convicted of a crime or treason is a reflection of the “chaos” in the House, Santos said, which “doesn’t work for the people.”
Five Democrat congressional members have been expelled including John Clark, John Reid and Henry Burnett for disloyalty to the Union in 1861 when they joined the Confederacy. Michael “Ozzie” Myers was expelled after a conviction of bribery in the FBI ABSCAM sting in 1980 and James Traficant, after his conviction of bribery, racketeering and fraud in 2002.
Santos would be the first Republican to be expelled, which he noted in his news conference. He said the possibility is unfair.
“Many members in Congress have rap sheets,” he said. But when a reporter asked him to name them, he paused and then smiled. “Why would I do the job for you?”
He referred to the House Ethics Committee scathing 56-page report released on Nov. 16 as a “slanderous report.” It details evidence Santos broke federal laws, stole from his campaign and delivered a “constant series of lies” to voters and donors on his way to winning a seat in the House of Representatives. It includes examples: $4,127.80 purchases at Hermes, $1,400 at Virtual Skin Spa, and a $1,500 purchase on the campaign debit card at Mirza Aesthetics for Botox treatments, among other expenses.
Santos did not address the details of the report instead saying, “The Ethics report is littered in hyperbole, littered in opinion. They are judge, jury and executioner.”
Although residents from Santos’ 3rd Congressional District have supported the findings in the Ethics Committee's report, hoping it will be what’s needed to convince the members of Congress to vote for Santos’ expulsion, he told reporters he has served his constituents effectively.
“People who say I don’t serve my constituents that’s not true. I have two district offices that are busy but the crowds of media outside the offices stop people from coming in,” Santos said. “I have a veteran staff and have not received any complaints except from organized groups. The thing I like to do most is serve the people.”
A resolution to expel him from Congress was introduced Nov. 17 by Republican House Ethics Committee Chairman Michael Guest.
Guest’s Ethics report was “not full throttled or complete,” Santos asserted. And it’s early release, he said, did not follow protocol. Guest had said the report was released early because it would have taken perhaps up to a year for completion, which is when a penalty against Santos could have been invoked.
Santos has said on X, the social media platform previously called Twitter, that he is the only one being expelled because “people did not like me.”
He said at the news conference he believes one purpose of the report was an attempt to have him resign. “If I leave, they win,” he said. “This is bullying. They’ve tried to force me to resign. This is all theater, for the cameras and microphones.”
When asked why he would be bullied he said offhandedly, “I don’t know. Ask them.”
On Tuesday, Democrat Rep. Robert Garcia put forward a privileged resolution in the House for expulsion. It's the California Democrat's second attempt to unseat Santos. Garcia's first unsuccessful effort was on May 16, after federal charges of wire fraud and lying to officials were filed against Santos.
Asked about his experience as a congressman, Santos described himself as a “mad as hell activist” when he first started his term of office who has had the advantage of “seeing how the sausage is made from the inside.”
“I have no regrets. I’m proud of the work I put forward,” he said. “Today is my second year wedding anniversary and I’m going to try to enjoy it and forget my year from hell.”