George Santos Becomes Sixth House Member Ever To Be Expelled From Congress

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 30: Rep. George Santos (R-NY) talks to reporters outside the U.S. Capitol on November 30, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
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Rep. George Santos’ (R-NY) short, but, by any measure, extraordinary political career crashed to its ignominious end Friday as he was expelled from Congress by over a third of his own conference.

Santos, wearing a coat and watching the totals accumulate, walked around the House floor and shook hands with some of his supporters as it quickly became clear that he’d lose the vote.

Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) gaveled the vote to a close, and said that the governor of New York would be notified. A smattering of applause followed his remarks.

As Santos himself noted at a bitterly cold press conference Thursday morning, he’s the first member to be jettisoned who has not been convicted of a crime or supported the confederacy.

Santos had been predicting his impending expulsion for weeks, though Republican leadership both declined to whip the vote and give members much guidance. House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) revealed his intention to vote against expulsion just before it came to the floor Friday, following Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA), who’d said the same the day before.

Santos’ fellow New York Republicans — like him, from blue or blueish districts, but unlike him, compelled to act like it — led the charge for his ouster. They took the House floor microphone in succession Thursday, railing against their colleague who sat just feet away. 

“Dear God, Mr. Speaker, my future former colleague is divorced from reality,” Rep. Marc Molinaro (R-NY) boomed, accusing Santos of defrauding the voters. 

Even as Santos marshaled his few outspoken defenders, they generally opposed his expulsion more on precedent grounds — since he hadn’t yet been convicted — than because of his specific case. 

“I rise not to defend George Santos — whoever he is — but to defend the very precedent my colleagues are willing to shatter,” Rep. Matt Gatez (R-FL) intoned. 

A small local paper on Long Island, The North Shore Leader, noted the inconsistencies in Santos’ biography and claims of great wealth for months before the election, but his habitual fabrication didn’t become national news until the New York Times got ahold of the story in December 2022.

In the months after, the steady drip of reporting — including many stories broken by TPM — became something of a punchline, given the sheer number of scandals he’d accumulated by age 35 (he says).

They ranged from the serious —including alleged credit card fraud and money laundering tied to campaign donations, which led to his being indicted by federal prosecutors — to the eyebrow-raising — his claims of multiple mansions and fabricated background as a Goldman Sachs banker — to the utterly baffling — his false insistence that he played on the Baruch volleyball team, that he started an animal rescue charity and that his mother survived the 9/11 attacks. 

The House Ethics report, released last month, was the straw that broke the camel’s back for many members, some of whom were uncomfortable with expelling Santos based on news reports and the indictments alone. 

The committee concluded that it had found “substantial evidence” that Santos “violated federal criminal laws.”
But it wouldn’t be a Santos scandal if the serious allegations weren’t peppered with the patently ludicrous. The ethics report was no exception, detailing Santos’ alleged use of campaign funds on Botox, an OnlyFans account and casino spending sprees.

While Santos’ short career, and potentially, his time as a free man, are coming to a close, he’s left an indelible mark on political history thanks to his brazenness and sheer absurdity. The briefly serving House freshman will inevitably become shorthand in the years to come, should another conman weasel his way into Congress. 

“The future — the future is endless,” Santos said, smiling, as he wrapped up his Thursday press conference, the sun breaking over the House office buildings. “You can do whatever you want next. I’m going to do whatever I want.”

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