Facing increasing pressure to resign and a third expulsion vote on the House floor this week, Rep. George Santos seems awkwardly intent on going down with a fight.
The House is set to vote on a resolution to expel the New York Republican this week, and many of his colleagues are pushing him to resign ahead of the vote. Yet Santos has remained defiant. On the House floor on Tuesday, he insisted he would not voluntarily leave his position. And later on, when asked about the effort to boot him from office, he told reporters, "I don't care."
"I was sent here by the people of the 3rd District of New York. I represent them," he said. "The political class in Washington, D.C., if they want to send me home, if they think this was a fair process, if they think this is how it should be done, and if they’re confident that this is a constitutional way of doing it — God bless their hearts."
The latest effort to expel Santos comes on the heels of a House Ethics Committee report that found "substantial evidence" that he committed federal crimes, in part, by misleading donors and using campaign funds to pay for a range of personal expenses, including luxury items and Botox. Santos, who called the report a "disgusting politicized smear," said he would not run for re-election in 2024 but would serve the rest of his term.
The ethics report prompted a string of House members to say they would support his expulsion after initially voting against it.
It’s rare for the House to kick out one of their own. The only two members expelled since the Civil War were convicted of crimes. House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., said Wednesday that he has "real reservations" about voting to expel Santos, who has pleaded not guilty to multiple federal charges.
"There are people who say you have to uphold the rule of law and allow for someone to be convicted in a criminal court before this ... tough penalty would be exacted on someone," Johnson said. "That's been the precedent so far."
Santos, of course, knows full well that some of his GOP colleagues follow that line of thinking — and it seems he's determined to make it as difficult a choice as possible for them.
Of course, we'll see whether Santos continues to wave off resignation calls or ultimately bends to them during his Thursday news conference on the Capitol steps.