Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) on Monday said he spoke with Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) “at some length” during the holiday recess “about his options” as the embattled lawmaker faces a likely third vote on his expulsion.
The conversation came after the House Ethics Committee released its long-awaited report on Santos, which found that the congressman “violated federal criminal laws” and used campaign funds for personal purchases, including trips to Las Vegas and Atlantic City, Botox and payments from OnlyFans, a subscription platform that is largely used for adult content.
The report has increased calls for Santos to be expelled from office and is prompting plans among lawmakers to force a third vote on the New Yorker’s ouster when the House returns to session this week.
Asked at the Sarasota Bradenton International Airport on Monday if the House will vote on expelling Santos this week, Johnson responded: “It remains to be seen.”
“I’ve spoken to Congressman Santos at some length over the holiday and talked with him about his options. But we’ll have to see. It’s not yet determined, but we’ll be talking about that when we get back tomorrow,” Johnson added.
Santos survived two expulsion attempts earlier this year, but if a third vote is teed up, it has a chance of being successful. A handful of lawmakers who previously backed Santos say they will now vote to expel him from office, citing the Ethics report.
Santos, for his part, thinks he will be expelled when a vote hits the floor as soon as this week, which would make him just the sixth House member to be ousted from office in history.
“I know I’m going to get expelled when this expulsion resolution goes to the floor,” Santos said during a conversation on X Spaces on Friday night. “I’ve done the math over and over, and it doesn’t look really good.”
Expelling Santos would be a significant development for the House GOP conference, which would see its razor-thin majority in the chamber become even more slim. It would also carry electoral implications: Democrats are likely to flip New York’s third congressional district, which President Biden won in 2020.
Rep. Michael Guest (R-Miss.), the chairman of the Ethics Committee, introduced a resolution to expel Santos the day after the panel published its report, a notable move against the embattled lawmaker.
Taking matters a step further, two Democratic lawmakers — Reps. Robert Garcia (Calif.) and Dan Goldman (N.Y.) — have said they plan to force a vote on expelling Santos once the House reconvenes this week, which would set the stage for a third vote on his ouster.
If Garcia, Goldman or any other lawmaker calls a Santos expulsion measure to the floor as a privileged resolution, the House would have to act on the measure within two legislative days.
Earlier this month, after the Ethics Committee released its report into Santos, Raj Shah, deputy chief of communications for Johnson, said the Speaker “thanks Ethics Committee Chairman Guest for the thorough investigation the committee released today.”
“The Speaker has reviewed the report and its very troubling findings. As members from both parties, members of the Ethics Committee, and Representative Santos return to Congress after the Thanksgiving break, Speaker Johnson encourages all involved to consider the best interests of the institution as this matter is addressed further.”
While it is unclear what Johsnon meant when he said he discussed “options” with Santos, the New York Republican has time and time again said he does not plan to resign before the end of his term, even amid the mounting political pressure.
During the X Spaces conversation Friday, Santos said he is “not going to resign” because “[if] I resign, I admit everything that’s on that report.”
Source : The Hill