In order to expel Santos, the House required a two-thirds majority, and the effort succeeded despite House GOP leadership voting against the resolution, citing concerns about future precedent. The expulsion passed with 311 voting for it, including 105 Republicans, 114 voting against it, and two voting present.
The vote ends an era in Congress in which, from the beginning, the embattled New York Republican continually made news for his antics, legal woes, lies, and flamboyant interactions with the media.
New York Republicans who have sought Santos’s removal for months took a victory lap after the House adjourned on Friday, expressing confidence they can replace the former freshman with “a good conservative Republican.”
“It’s a sad day,” said Rep. Anthony D’Esposito (R-NY), one of the New York Republicans who led the charge for Santos’s ouster. “We wish we never had to be here. But now the focus on is on doing the work of the American people.”
“We didn’t want to spend the first 11 months talking about George Santos, and I hope today is the beginning of not having to talk about him,” he added.
Other lawmakers echoed similar sentiments that his removal was not a cause for celebration but rather had to be done to uphold the standards of Congress. Rep. Michael Guest (R-MS), the chairman of the Ethics Committee that released the damning report, defended the panel’s work, arguing his removal followed due process.
“The Constitution does not require a conviction. The Constitution just requires a two-thirds vote by the body,” Guest said. “I’m not concerned that this sets some future precedent that members will be willy-nilly removed from Congress because of a behavior that people do not accept. I believe this is the exception to the rule, and I believe that probably within the last several decades that this is by far the worst corruption that we’ve seen.”
His expulsion will now trigger a special election to carry out the rest of his term, with state law dictating Gov. Kathy Hochul (D-NY) to schedule an election date within the next 10 days. The race is expected to draw a lot of attention as Democrats eye flipping the seat and further narrowing the GOP’s already-slim majority.
“House Majority PAC plans to play a significant role in the NY-03 special election, and we will do whatever it takes to flip this district blue,” said Mike Smith, the president of the House Majority PAC, a Democratic-aligned group aimed at electing more Democrats to the lower chamber.
Santos had survived two previous expulsion votes, but after a House Ethics Committee report alleged, in part, that he used funds meant to support his election to make purchases at OnlyFans, Sephora, and Hermes and get Botox and that he conspired to falsify Federal Election Commission reports, the floodgates opened, and his opposition grew exponentially.
By late last week, Santos was already expecting that the resolution would be successful and he would be ousted. But he didn’t take it quietly.