Embattled Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., escaped being expelled from the House of Representatives on Wednesday night after a group of his fellow New York Republicans spearheaded an effort to boot him.
The final vote fell 179 to 213 against expelling Santos, with 19 lawmakers voting “present.” Expelling a member of the House, something that is historically rare, requires a vote of two-thirds of all members present.
Two dozen Republicans voted to expel Santos, while 31 Democrats voted to keep him in the House.
Santos told reporters after the vote, “There’s more Democrats in this body that believe in the rule of law than there are Republicans. That’s what you should know.”
“I am fighting to clear my name. I am fighting for due process,” Santos said.
The Republicans who led the expulsion effort are Reps. Anthony D’Esposito, R-N.Y., Nick LaLota, R-N.Y., and Mike Lawler, R-N.Y.
Santos spoke in his own defense earlier on the House floor, accusing the Republicans who moved against him of playing “judge, jury and executioner.”
“Efforts taken by other members in this body to act as jury and executioner are unconscionable and reckless to our Republican system of government and to the integrity of this body,” Santos said.
“I stand today to continue to prove my innocence of these allegations and charges leveled against me. I’d like to say I understand the point of view of my colleagues, but I don’t. One can’t say that they are pro constitution and at the same time act as judge, jury and executioner. Where is the consistency?”
Santos was the only member of Congress to speak in his defense during debate ahead of the resolution.
The scandal-plagued Republican was charged with conspiracy, wire fraud, making false statements, falsification of records, aggravated identity theft, and credit card fraud last month – with a total of 23 charges against him.