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George Santos bitterly reacts to House expulsion: ‘To hell with this place’

‘Why would I want to stay here,’ 35-year-old says after refusing to resign despite calls to do so for months

Gustaf Kilander,Eric Garcia
Saturday 02 December 2023 12:16 GMT
Related video: ‘I have accepted expulsion’: George Santos ‘at peace’ ahead of vote

Rep George Santos reacted bitterly to his expulsion from the House of Representatives after saying before the vote that he would leave “graciously”.

“The House spoke, that’s their vote. They just set new dangerous precedent for themselves,” he said after the vote, according to CNN.

He was asked if he would remain and utilize his nonmember privileges since he’s not yet convicted of any crimes, he said: “Why would I want to stay here? To hell with this place.”

“I had no skin in the game,” he added when asked if he knew he was about to be removed.

“You know what? As unofficially no longer a member of Congress, I no longer have to answer your questions,” he told the press.

He appeared on Fox & Friends on Friday morning ahead of the vote to expel him saying that he would leave the chamber “graciously” if pushed out.

“If it is God’s will to keep me here I will stay and if it is God’s will for me to leave I will do so graciously,” he said.

Mr Santos was asked if he thought he would be expelled, telling Fox: “I do believe they have the votes. Congressman Lalota said he had won 50. He walked it back to 120. 150, 120. The difference is they need about 77 Republicans. If that’s the numbers they’re dealing with, I think they have it.”

But he also appeared unsure if he was about to be booted when asked by the press at the Capitol.

“If I knew the future, I’d play the lotto,” he told reporters.

When asked if he made up his life story, he said, “I can go and rehash everything that I’ve said, but it’s been so wildly documented on all of the questions you just asked”.

“And the short answer is would I have not said certain things, would I have done things differently? Absolutely. I’m an adult and I’m mature enough to acknowledge that,” he added. “But to think that I’ve built my entire life based on what the media is trying to package over the last couple of months is not fair. It is not true and it is dishonest. So I have a life.”

“I have people around me who have been in my life my entire life, who are appalled at what the media has been doing. So I think that should tell you enough [about] who I am and my character,” he said.

His former communications director, Naysa Woomer, appeared on CNN on Friday saying, “If we are looking to earn the trust back of the American people, let this serve as an example by expelling someone who is truly unfit to serve”.

This comes after Mr Santos described the vote as “bullying” during a Thursday morning press conference.

After being asked about his refusal to resign, he said, “If I leave, they win”.

On Thursday, the embattled Republican freshman rolled into his press conference in a black Jaguar SUV and criticised the fact that he would be joining five other members of Congress who were either members of the Confederacy or convicted criminals.

“So if I am to get expelled tomorrow, I will be number six in the history of the first Republican and the only one without a conviction or without having committed treason,” he said.

The vote comes after the House Ethics Committee – a bipartisan panel – released a report detailing how Mr Santos used campaign cash to make personal expenses, filed false campaign finance reports to the Federal Election Commission and engaged in “knowing and willful violations” of the Ethics in Government Act.

But Mr Santos used his press conference not to refute the specific allegations in the report.

“It is counterproductive for me to do so at this time,” he told reporters on Thursday morning. “There will be a time that I will unpack it entirely and go line by line.”

Mr Santos criticised the Ethics Committee, saying that he complied with the investigation, even though the report said he did not cooperate.

“No decent cop would bring this to a prosecutor or a DA and say, here’s our report, go ahead and charge it,” he said.

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