Update, November 2: On Wednesday evening, the attempt to expel Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) from the House failed, with the final vote standing at 179 for booting the congressman and 212 against.
For the second time in less than a year, the House of Representatives is set to vote on whether to expel George Santos, the New York Republican and admitted liar, who on Friday, was hit with an additional 10 criminal charges related to a string of fraud allegations.
The resolution, which requires a two-thirds majority, faces steep chances in the GOP-controlled chamber. It notably failed to attract the support of newly installed House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), who essentially acknowledged last week that he was willing to put up with Santos because Republicans couldn’t risk their thin majority. “We have no margin for error,” he told Fox News host Sean Hannity.
But regardless of how a vote shakes out, New York Republicans are all but certain to play up their role in attempting to deliver an exceedingly rare punishment against a member of their own delegation. “We strongly urge you to vote in favor of this resolution and encourage you to contact any one of us should you have any doubts in expelling George Santos from this body,” Reps. Nick LaLota, Anthony D’Esposito, Marc Molinaro, and Brandon Williams wrote in a letter to House colleagues Wednesday morning.
The group has good reason to convince you they care. All five freshman Republicans are in toss-up races that could reverse the significant electoral success the GOP has seen in New York. In 2022, after railing against crime and bail reform, issues that carried specific resonance after the pandemic, the state “almost went red,” as my colleague Noah Lanard reported. With poll after poll showing New Yorkers overwhelmingly want Santos booted out of Congress, Santos’ scandals could risk that edge. Adding to their vulnerability are new reports revealing close ties to individuals who have worked for Santos, including Thomas Datwyler, the former campaign treasurer who claimed that he didn’t work for Santos despite doing so for four months.
New York Rs believe they are close to 2/3 needed to make George Santos just the 6th House member ever expelled.
"I understand the hesitance, but this is a clear case of an individual who used every lie and misdeed in order to attain the very office that he holds," Molinaro said pic.twitter.com/IJTbg29i6r
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) October 30, 2023
Of course, New York Republicans may be genuinely fed up with the indictments, and more recently, a literal baby-holding tantrum. But much of that same baggage already existed when the same five Republicans voted against a Democratic effort to expel Santos back in May. Plus, with the knowledge that Santos’ lies were reportedly something of an open secret among powerful Republicans, including close associates to Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) and Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), long before he was elected to Congress, it’s worth scrutinizing what could be animating the historic decision this week.