Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) called for Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) to be expelled from Congress during a defiant press conference Thursday—as an embattled Santos tries to stave off expulsion from the House due to a slew of fraud allegations.
Santos said he would introduce a privileged resolution to expel Bowman, after an incident earlier this year where Bowman pulled a fire alarm in a Capitol Hill office building ahead of a crucial vote to avert a government shutdown in September.
The New York Republican said that if a Republican had done what Bowman did, they would be “charged with obstructing a congressional hearing,” but Bowman took a plea deal. Santos—who has seen calls to resign as he faces charges of fraud and money laundering—told reporters on the steps of the Capitol that if he resigned, “they win,” adding that the calls for resignation are “bullying.”
The lawmaker excoriated the scathing House Ethics Committee report released earlier this month that found he “blatantly stole from his campaign,” arguing it was “littered in hyperbole,” but when asked by reporters to unpack the specific allegations, Santos declined, saying it would be “counterproductive.”
Santos would not answer reporters’ questions about whether the accusations against him were true, but did say he was “fighting to defend [himself] and dispel each and every accusation.”
“I think we can all look back and say: This is not how at least I thought this year would go,” Santos said in his morning press conference outside the Capitol.
Bowman released a statement following Santos’ presser saying that “no one in Congress, or anywhere in America” takes Santos seriously. He went on to call Santos’ announcement a “meaningless stunt in his long history of cons, antics, and outright fraud.”
A congressional vote to expel Santos from Congress is expected Thursday. The vote will need two-thirds of the House’s support, but if Santos is removed from Congress, it would be the first time a House expulsion vote was successful in more than 20 years. Santos survived an expulsion vote earlier this month, but some lawmakers who voted against expelling him have changed their position since the damning Ethics Committee report was released.
The calls for Santos to resign have only grown as more information about his alleged fraud has been released. Santos was indicted in federal court in May, facing 13 charges of money laundering and fraud charges for allegedly defrauding campaign donors during the 2022 election. Prosecutors alleged the New York Republican directed donors to an LLC based in Florida which they were told would redirect the money to support his campaign, but instead Santos allegedly spent that money on personal expenses including designer clothes. Santos pleaded not guilty. In October, Santos pleaded not guilty to 10 criminal charges of misusing donor’s credit cards and stealing their identities. Earlier this month, a bipartisan House Ethics Committee report detailed the alleged misconduct but stopped short of recommending expulsion from the House. And the report led to numerous members of Congress announcing they would support an expulsion vote. Santos later said he would not run for reelection.
Jamaal Bowman Criminally Charged For Pulling Capitol Fire Alarm (Forbes)
George Santos Won’t Run For Reelection After Scathing Ethics Report Alleges Federal Crimes (Forbes)