Embattled Rep George Santos (R-NY) delivered a defiant press conference early Thursday morning as he braces for an expulsion vote to kick him out of Congress.
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 House of Representatives is set to vote on whether to expel Mr Santos on Friday. The vote comes after the House Ethics Committee–a bipartisan committee–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.
Rather, Mr Santos chose to list a series of unrelated grievances, blaming Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas for protesters critical of Israel confronting police officers during the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting.
He also criticised the fact that the House was not voting to expel Rep Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) after Mr Bowman pulled a fire alarm during a House vote in September, which prompted him to say that he would file a privileged motion to expel the New York Democrat. This came despite the Ethics Committee chose not to investigate Mr Bowman.
“Let’s hold our own accountable but let’s make sure that we do it with the precedent of the House,” he said.
The House will hold a full vote on expelling Mr Santos on Friday. The vote would require a two-thirds of the House to remove the freshman Republican member.
Mr Santos has faced scrutiny ever since his election when news reports showed he fabricated multiple parts of his life’s story as well as his professional history.
The vote will be the third effort in a year to remove Mr Santos from the House. A previous effort in May filed by Democrats failed and earlier this month, another vote failed right before the release of the Ethics Committee report.
In addition, Mr Santos faces a federal investigation. Prosecutors charged him earlier this year and he appeared in court in late October to plead not guilty to charges including stealing the identities of campaign contributors to make more than $44,000 in credit card purchases and moving a “vast majority” of a $12,000 bank transfer to his personal account.
During his press conference, he mentioned how some members have “severe allegations against them,” but when asked about who they were, Mr Santos refused to give names.
“Why do I have to do your job for you,” he said in response to a question from The Independent. “You guys like digging up stuff on me. Why don’t you go dig up and other members?”
Mr Santos maintained that he would not resign but said he would not seek re-election. Still, he said that he would not re-enter public life.
“I’m 35 years old,” he said. “That doesn’t mean goodbye forever.”
Mr Santos ended his press conference swarmed by photographers as he went back into his Jaguar SUV while some hecklers criticised him, with one saying “you look better in drag.”
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