Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., is seen in the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, November 28, 2023.
Tom Williams | Cq-roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images
Multiple House Republicans said Wednesday they believe there is now enough support by GOP lawmakers to boot Rep. George Santos from Congress later this week.
House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., on Wednesday said the vote on that resolution will be held Friday.
Johnson said he has “reservations” about the vote to remove Santos. But, he added, “We’re going to allow people to vote their conscience.”
After a GOP conference meeting, Rep. Nick LaLota, R-N.Y. said, “I think there’ll be 120, 150 Republican votes” for the resolution, NBC News reported.
That many Republicans, added to what is expected to be overwhelming Democratic support, would easily surpass the two-thirds supermajority vote required to remove Santos from the 435-seat House.
Another New York Republican, Rep. Anthony D’Esposito, said he believes this will be Santos’ last week in Congress.
D’Esposito, backed by other Republicans, on Tuesday night advanced the latest expulsion resolution as privileged, starting a countdown clock that requires a vote this week.
He and LaLota led prior failed attempts to oust Santos, who is facing pending federal criminal fraud charges in New York.
Only five members of Congress have been expelled in U.S. history. Three of those members were ousted for supporting the Confederacy during the Civil War, and the other two were first convicted of federal crimes.
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Santos earlier this month easily survived an expulsion resolution, when 182 Republicans and 31 Democrats voted against the measure.
But many Republicans changed their stance after the Republican-led House Ethics Committee issued a damning report about Santos two weeks ago, and referred its finding to the Department of Justice.
The report found “substantial evidence” that Santos violated federal criminal laws and defrauded his own donors in order to enrich himself. Among other things, investigators found he spent campaign cash at luxury store Hermes and on the adult site OnlyFans.
“I’ll be voting to expel Santos. He’s a crook,” said Rep. Dusty Johnson, R-S.D., on Wednesday. Johnson previously voted against removing Santos.
But some Republicans, including Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, have signaled they remain opposed to the bid to remove him.
A number of House Republicans would likely prefer Santos resign.
Rep. Kevin Hern, R-Okla., told reporters that Speaker Johnson had called Santos to say that resigning would “prevent a lot of people from having to take some very tough votes.”
Santos has repeatedly rejected that option.
“To set the record straight and to put this in the record, I will not be resigning,” Santos said on the House floor Tuesday night.
Santos argued that the expulsion resolution “sets a very dangerous precedent for the future.”
“Are we to now assume that one is no longer innocent until proven guilty?” he asked.
He also slammed the ethics report for being “littered with hyperbole and littered with biased opinions.”