Many House Republicans are bitter with regret about expelling George Santos

Expelled former Congressman George Santos (R-NY)
Expelled former Congressman George Santos (R-NY) Photo: Screenshot TikTok

After a Democrat won yesterday’s special election to replace disgraced former Rep. George Santos (R-NY) for the remainder of the year, some House Republicans are expressing regret that the House voted to expel Santos in the first place.

Santos was expelled from Congress in a 311-114 vote last December after the House Ethics Committee released its report on him that found “substantial evidence that campaign funds were converted to personal use.” Almost all Democrats voted to expel him, while Republicans were divided.

A special election was held yesterday in New York’s Third Congressional District and former Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-NY) won. Suozzi held the seat until 2022, when he left Congress to run for governor. He lost that race in the primary and announced that he would run for Congress again in 2024 and then announced that he would seek the seat earlier after Santos got expelled.

Now Republicans are angry that their already very narrow majority in the House just got one seat narrower.

“A healthy round of finger pointing this morning among Republicans here on Capitol Hill this morning about NY3,” reported Punchbowl News founder Jake Sherman on X. “So far I’ve heard: People say the Nassau County GOP machine is useless after supporting [GOP candidate Mazi] Pilip and Santos. People blame the leadership. People blame Pilip herself for hiding out and not raising enough cash.”

He then added: “oh, and many say that the House Republicans shouldn’t have expelled Santos.”

Rep. Mike Collins (R-GA) piped up as one of those “Republicans on Capitol Hill.”

“Certainly no need to blame Republicans who voted to expel the Republican who won the seat,” he wrote sarcastically. He was one of the Republicans who voted to keep Santos this past December.

“So who still thinks Republicans helping Democrats kick out Santos was a good idea?” he wrote in a later post.

Also this morning, House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) reminded everyone on Fox News that he did not support expelling Santos from Congress last year.

“It was a tough loss last night,” he said.

“Whatever you want to say about George Santos, I don’t think he should have been expelled and he was a great Republican vote,” said Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA). Greene also said that Pilip was a “horrible candidate” and accused her of hating Donald Trump.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), who led the far-right effort to remove former Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) from the speakership last year, lashed out at those who voted to remove Santos. Gaetz himself has been accused of hurting the Republican majority by getting eight Republicans to join all the House Democrats in removing McCarthy from his leadership position, and McCarthy subsequently resigned from the House entirely.

“People who ‘blew up the GOP majority’ are: Everyone who voted to expel Santos. Kevin McCarthy for being a quitter,” he wrote on X.

Rep. Marc Molinaro (R-NY) included the expulsion of Santos as one of many actions that “shrunk the majority,” but still called Santos a “con man” and said he “shouldn’t have been a member of Congress.”

“Perhaps George Santos being honest would have kept one more seat here in Congress,” he said. 

Perhaps no one blamed House Republicans more for losing the seat than Santos himself, who posted “-1” on X when it became clear that Suozzi was winning.

In another post, Santos blamed Reps. Anthony D’Esposito (R-NY) and Nick LaLota (R-NY), who introduced one of the resolutions to expel Santos from the House last year.

“Hey Americans!” Santos wrote. “Please thank these two gems for losing a seat in the house today!”

Republicans faced criticism for keeping Santos around for almost a year after it was discovered that he lied about almost his entire life story in order to get elected to Congress. Republicans were accused of supporting “party over country,” preferring to keep his reliably conservative vote in the House no matter the cost to Congress as an institution. And while many House Republicans voted to expel him – partly because he was literally stealing from his colleagues, allegedly – others appeared to see Santos’s lies and alleged scams as a price to pay to pass conservative legislation.

Last week, Gaetz and Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) wrote and shared messages on X about how they missed having Santos in the House, considering Republicans couldn’t pass their resolution to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

“I’ve never missed Santos more,” Gaetz wrote. Boebert shared the post. Republicans were able to pass the resolution this week.

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