Serial fabulist Rep George Santos crowned himself king in a social media post after he survived a vote to expel him from Congress.
The resolution needed a two-thirds majority to succeed, but fell well short.
Mr Santos – who has been exposed for lying about 9/11 and is also charged with laundering campaign funds – celebrated his small victory by sharing a self-aggrandising post on X.
The post showed a doctored image of the fabulist lawmaker sporting a gold crown with the slogan: “If you come for me, you best not miss.”
“Tonight was a victory for due process not me. This was never about me, and I’ll never let it become about me,” he wrote on the post.
“We all have rights under this great Constitutional Republic and I’ll fight for our right to uphold them till my last dying breath.”
Mr Santos quickly deleted the post and replaced it with the same written statement – minus the meme.
However, it had already been captured and circulated online.
Presenting his request to the House on Wednesday, Mr D’Esposito highlighted Mr Santos’s “history of misrepresenting his and his family’s connections to major events, including the Holocaust, 9/11 terrorist attacks, and the Pulse nightclub shooting”.
He also listed Mr Santos’ indictment as one of the motives for his expulsion from the House. “As a result of these actions, George Santos is not fit to serve his constituents as a United States representative,” Mr D’Esposito said.
The following day, Friday October 27, Mr Santos pleaded not guilty to 10 new felony charges in a superseding indictment on Friday.
Ahead of the vote on Wednesday, Mr Santos said the rush by his colleagues to expel him before his criminal case is concluded was unfair, and would deny him his constitutional right to due process.
“The loss of the presumption of innocence establishes a dangerous precedent that threatens the very foundation of our legal system, and we risk losing the trust that the American people placed in us by passing judgment without due process,” he said, according to ABC News.
“If we work together, we can protect the integrity of our system and the rights of all citizens.”
He added: “I’m fighting tooth and nail to clear my name in front of the entire world, Mr Speaker. It hasn’t been easy, but I’m fighting by God’s grace.”
Only five members in US history have been expelled from the House. The last time an expulsion occurred was in 2002, when Ohio Democrat James Traficant was removed after being convicted of 10 felony counts of racketeering, bribery and fraud.
Last month federal officials included new charges against Mr Santos, accusing him of stealing campaign contributors’ identities to make more than $44,000 in credit card purchases. They also accused him of moving the “vast majority” a $12,000 transfer to his personal bank account.
He and the US government previously agreed that his trial would begin on 9 September of next year. Mr Santos also requested that his bond conditions be changed so he could contact individuals including his family members who are witnesses in the case against him.
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