A pair of House Democratic lawmakers on Tuesday moved to force a vote to expel scandal-ridden Rep. George Santos (R-NY) in the coming days, the latest and possibly final attempt from the disgraced congressman’s colleagues to bring him down.
The “privileged” resolution requires a vote on the Republican’s ouster within two legislative days, with the motion needing a two-thirds majority in the GOP-controlled House. Despite surviving two previous attempts this year to have him removed, Santos believes this is it—but is still stubbornly refusing to resign all the same.
Democratic Reps. Robert Garcia and Dan Goldman filed their resolution Tuesday after introducing resolutions earlier in 2023 which were referred to the House Ethics Committee. After Santos survived a vote on his expulsion on Nov. 1, Ethics Committee Chairman Michael Guest filed his own motion to expel Santos in the wake of the panel’s damning report accusing Santos of blowing donor cash on luxuries including Botox, fancy clothes, and pornography.
The report also alleged there was “substantial evidence” that Santos—who previously denied criminal corruption charges including fraud and embezzlement—has repeatedly broken the law. It cited the 23 charges against him, found that he had lied about his education, and concluded that he simply “cannot be trusted.” “At nearly every opportunity, he placed his desire for private gain above his duty to uphold the Constitution, federal law, and ethical principles,” the report concluded.
Garcia said he introduced his resolution over fears that Republicans, who hold a slender 221-213 majority in the House, would move forward with a vote on Guest’s earlier resolution.
“This forces a vote this week,” Garcia told reporters, according to CBS News. “If they want to introduce their own resolution now that this has happened, they’re welcome to do so. But our goal is to expel him this week.”
Later Tuesday, GOP Republican Rep. Anthony D’Esposito moved to force a vote on Guest’s resolution. The House is therefore required to act on the separate efforts to expel Santos by Thursday.
“Are we to now assume that one is no longer innocent until proven guilty, and they are in fact guilty until proven innocent?” Santos said in a floor speech Tuesday, claiming that he has been unfairly denied due process. “I ask that all my colleagues in the House consider and understand what this means for the future.” He also stated unequivocally in the speech that he “will not be resigning.”
“Look, you all want a soundbite. It’s the third time we are going through this. I don’t care,” he told reporters on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, per ABC News.
Santos’ defiant stance comes even as he publicly acknowledges that the latest effort to remove him will likely succeed. “I know I’m going to get expelled when this expulsion resolution goes to the floor,” he said in a lengthy livestream about Guest’s resolution on Friday. “I’ve done the math over and over, and it doesn’t look really good.”
Santos also said that if he resigns, he would be admitting “everything that’s in that report,” referring to the Ethics Committee’s findings. But he also said his refusal to resign was partly motivated by a desire to deny his GOP colleagues’ wish of being spared a potentially difficult vote.
“They want me to resign because they don’t want to take this tough vote that sets the precedent to their own demise in the future,” Santos said Tuesday. He added: “My message to them is: Either put up or shut up, and enough of the charade.”