In a historic move, the House made a decisive vote on Friday, leading to the expulsion of Rep. George Santos, a New York Republican. This landmark decision marked him as only the sixth lawmaker to be ousted from the lower chamber in the annals of congressional history.
This extraordinary action, not witnessed in two decades, unfolded after three failed attempts over the course of six tumultuous months. It demanded substantial bipartisan support to reach the elevated requirement: a two-thirds majority of the chamber. The final count, an overwhelming 311-114-2, surpassed this threshold, with a striking 105 Republicans aligning with nearly all Democrats to unseat the scandal-plagued Santos, who had spent a mere 11 months in office.
Notably, Reps. Bobby Scott and Nikema Williams emerged as the sole Democrats who opposed Santos’s expulsion, while Reps. Al Green and Jonathan Jackson cast votes of “present.”
This measure underscored the simmering tensions within the Republican conference but ultimately underscored Santos’s plummeting standing, even among many of his GOP peers. Once regarded as a pioneering figure within the GOP, Santos now faces a federal indictment encompassing 23 counts, including wire fraud and identity theft, along with campaign finance violations. Consequently, numerous Republicans perceived him as a liability tarnishing the party’s image, especially in a pivotal election cycle where control of the House hung in the balance.
Rep. George Santos’s removal from office has immediate implications for Speaker Mike Johnson and his leadership team. Their already narrow House majority has now become even slimmer as they gear up for crucial battles, including preventing a government shutdown and securing funding for Ukraine and Israel. These issues have ignited intense divisions within the GOP ranks.
Interestingly, despite the mounting controversy surrounding Santos, 112 Republicans stood by him during the Friday vote. They argued that ousting an elected official without a criminal conviction could set a perilous precedent, potentially paving the way for politically motivated expulsions in the future, a concern reflecting the internal strife within the party.
Speaker Johnson, still in the early weeks of his Speakership, attempted to stay clear of the internal dispute, permitting members of his conference to “vote their conscience” on Santos’s fate. However, he expressed “real reservations” about removing Santos before his criminal cases reached resolution—a sentiment disregarded by numerous Republicans who supported expulsion.
Fourth Times the Charm
The endeavor to penalize the first-term congressman commenced months ago when it was revealed that Santos had fabricated details about his background during his campaign. This effort gained momentum following his two criminal indictments and reached its peak when the House Ethics Committee issued a scathing report explicitly stating that the congressman had “violated federal criminal laws.”
Santos’s removal from office was not a swift process. His staunchest critics initiated three attempts, one in May, another in November, and the ultimately successful vote on Friday. This prolonged ordeal mirrors the intricate political and legal complexities surrounding the Santos saga, which has gripped the House throughout the year.
Throughout the months of controversy, Santos remained unwavering, vehemently asserting his innocence, defending his right to due process, and condemning his detractors for undermining the will of the voters who had elected him to Washington.
In a final PR campaign this week, Santos embarked on a sort of farewell tour. He made several public appearances, criticizing the “arrogant” Ethics Committee, denouncing the final report as slanderous, rejecting calls for resignation, and targeting his colleagues who had pushed for his expulsion amid intensifying criticism and discord.
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This article was produced and syndicated by A Dime Saved.