Why was George Santos expelled from Congress? New York Republican expelled, final vote of 311-114, including 112 Republicans


WASHINGTON — The House of Representatives on Friday voted to expel Republican Rep. George Santos, a historic move that hasn’t happened in more than 20 years.

Santos, scandal-ridden since arriving in Washington nearly a year ago, is just the sixth House member in history to be removed by his colleagues.

The final vote was 311-114, with 112 Republicans voting with Democrats, far eclipsing the two-thirds majority threshold needed. Speaker Mike Johnson, who just before the vote announced his opposition, presided over the tally.

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“The whole number of the House is now 434,” Johnson said.

Santos left the chamber and the Capitol before the final vote was announced, swarmed by reporters as he jumped in a waiting car.

His removal comes two weeks after a scathing House Ethics Committee report detailed what investigators said was Santos’ use of campaign funds for his own personal benefit. Santos repeatedly criticized the report as political smear, though he’s yet to refute specific allegations.

Momentum grew to oust Santos after the report’s publication, but at one point earlier Friday it appeared House Republican leaders might be able to save him.

Johnson, House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, House Majority Whip Tom Emmer and No. 3 House Republican Elise Stefanik all said they would be voting against the resolution just moments before it reached the floor.

“No Member of Congress has ever been expelled without a conviction; this is a dangerous precedent and I am voting no based upon my concerns regarding due process. I have said from the beginning that this process will play out in the judicial system which it currently is,” Stefanik wrote in a post to X.

Rep. Darrell Issa told ABC News before the vote it was a coin toss whether Santos survived.

“If I were going to handicap it, I’d give him slightly better than 50-50,” Issa predicted.

During an hour of spirited debate on the House floor Thursday, Santos continued to argue he was denied due process.

“Every member expelled in history of this institution has been convicted of crimes or Confederate turncoats guilty of treason. Neither of those apply to me, but here we are,” Santos said. “On what basis does this body feel that precedent must be changed for me? An American citizen, duly elected — elected to represent the 3rd district of New York.”

As they exited a conference meeting Friday morning, some Republicans echoed Santos’s defense that he has not been convicted and that the two most recent members to be expelled were first convicted.

“It doesn’t mean I’m claiming that he’s innocent or guilty, but that’s the way it’s always been done for the institution’s sake,” Rep. Mike Bost, R-Ill., said.

Republican Rep. Michael Guest, the chairman of the House Ethics Committee who also previously introduced a separate motion to expel Santos, made notably rare remarks to defend the report ahead of Friday’s vote.

“George Santos has built his persona, his personal and political life, on a foundation of lies,” Guest said.

Santos’ expulsion will present something of a political headache for House Republican leadership, which could be left with one fewer vote in their already narrow majority.

New York law gives Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, power to schedule a special election to fill Santos’ swing seat. Hochul has 10 days from being notified of a vacancy to announce a special election, which then has to take place within 80 days.

ABC News’ Arthur Jones, Benjamin Siegel and Rachel Scott contributed to this report.

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