Rep. George Santos speaks out ahead of expulsion vote: ‘This is bullying’

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(WASHINGTON) — Embattled Rep. George Santos spoke out Thursday ahead of an upcoming vote to expel him from the House of Representatives.

Santos, who has been scandal-ridden since arriving in Washington earlier this year and is facing federal charges, called the renewed effort to oust him representative of the “chaos” in Congress and continued to insist he will not resign.

“If I leave, they win,” Santos said as he addressed reporters at the House Triangle outside the Capitol. “If I leave, the bullies take place. This is bullying.”

“It’s theater for the cameras,” the New York Republican added. “It’s theater for the microphones. It’s theater for the American people at the expense of the American people because no real work is getting done.”

The expected expulsion vote, the third attempt to remove Santos this year, comes after a damning report from the House Ethics Committee detailing what investigators said was his use of campaign funds for his own personal enrichment. Santos on Thursday again criticized the panel’s work, calling the report “slanderous,” but declined to unpack details of it and offered no timeline on when he would do so.

Santos also took time to air out his grievances against other political figures, alleging there are other members with rap sheets of their own.

He announced he will introduce a privileged resolution to expel another member of Congress: New York Democrat Jamaal Bowman. Santos cited Bowman’s guilty plea to a misdemeanor for pulling a fire alarm before the House voted on a spending measure to avert a government shutdown in September.

After his court appearance, Bowman told ABC News, “I regret Capitol Police resources needed to be used to respond to that. I’m glad no one was hurt.”

House Speaker Mike Johnson said a vote on the expulsion resolution would occur Friday. Johnson said members can “vote their conscience” but also expressed “real reservations” about the process given Santos has not yet been convicted.

Santos highlighted that fact at his press conference Thursday, telling reporters: “If I am to get expelled tomorrow, I will be number six in the history, the first Republican and the only one without a conviction or … without having committed treason.”

When asked if he expected the measure to pass, Santos said he “didn’t know,” but pointed to New York Republican Nick LaLota’s comments that he thinks there will be enough votes — 150 if all members are in attendance — in favor of expulsion.

“From what I understand, the way I’m looking at this, is Congressman LaLota said he has 150 votes. So I mean, if he has 150 votes, as he said already on the record, he has the votes. This is just plain and simple,” Santos said.

Santos said he would not be asking members to come to his defense ahead of the vote.

Facing possible removal, Santos said “whatever comes my way, I have the desire to stay very much involved in public policy” and said he “won’t rest until I see Donald Trump back in the White House.”

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