Standing on the steps of the U.S. Capitol Thursday, a group of Democrats announced a measure to expel embattled Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., from Congress.
Santos has faced calls to resign from both his constituents and members of his own party after admitting to lying about major aspects of his biography, including his education and work history. He has thus far refused to resign, but last week he announced he was temporarily stepping down from two congressional committees until his issues have been resolved.
"George Santos is a fraud, a liar," said California Rep. Robert Garcia, a Democrat who is openly gay. "He has lied about the most horrific shooting in the LGBTQ modern history, the Pulse nightclub shooting. He's lied about 9/11, he's lied about the Holocaust, he's lied about his education, he's lied about his career. And as we all know, just recently, he's been now given classified access to important information and classified information that he should not have."
Garcia was joined Thursday by fellow House Democrats Ritchie Torres, D-N.Y., Becca Balint, D-Vt., Eric Sorensen, D-Ill., and Dan Goldman, D-N.Y.
"If there was a Democrat who lied up and down like George Santos did, we as Democrats would never accept this within our own party, and it's time for the Republican Party to do the right thing," Torres said.
Earlier this week, a group of Santos' constitutents from his New York district – which represents parts of Queens and Long Island's Nassau County – traveled to Washington to call for his resignation.
“The George Santos that was elected to represent New York [District] 3 is not the real George Santos, and he's deprived us of a real representative who can be trusted to serve us,” Aidan Davis, an 18-year-old constituent in Santos’ district, said at a news conference Tuesday outside the Capitol.
Rep. Dan Goldman, D-N.Y., added at the event earlier this week: “We have the voters who are here and we have information from lots more voters all around the district that clearly indicates that, if they had known about the lies and deception, they would have never voted for George Santos.
“If you're going to steal money from the bank by holding the bank up and you take the money and then you say, ‘Well, the bank gave me the money so it's OK’ — that's what Speaker McCarthy is saying,” Goldman continued. “He's saying that you can deceive the voters, you can defraud the voters, but as long as the voters voted for you, then it doesn't matter.”
The same day, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said that Santos is the subject of ethics complaints.
“Ethics is moving through, and if Ethics finds something, we’ll take action,” McCarthy told a group of reporters at the Capitol.
"There are questions," McCarthy said. "I expect them to get answered."
Goldman and Torres filed an ethics complaint against Santos last month.
“Of the 535 members in Congress, there's no one who poses a greater threat to the integrity of the institution than George Santos,” said Torres, D-N.Y., on Tuesday. “He's the greatest fiction writer in the history of Congress.”
The resolution cites a clause of the U.S. Constitution which states: "Each House [of Congress] may determine the Rules of its proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two thirds, expel a member." It's a long-shot to pass, as it would require the support of two-thirds of the House. Garcia told Spectrum News they have the support of most of New York's House GOP delegation, and are also talking to Republican lawmakers from his own state of California for support.
“When I walked into Congress, I’m thinking, you know how many LGBTQ Latinos are there? He's another one, and [from] a representation perspective, it's so disappointing and disgusting that he's chosen to act this way,” Garcia told Spectrum News. “He should resign. And I'm hopeful that we don't have to expel him, I’m hopeful he just resigns.”
“Everyone thinks he should resign, I don't think there's anyone that I'm talking to that doesn't think he should resign," Garcia added, before quipping: "Maybe Kevin McCarthy."
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., told Spectrum News that he hasn’t “had the opportunity to look at the precise language” of the resolution and thus has not taken a position on it.
“I can only imagine what it says and it certainly speaks for itself. George Santos is a complete and utter and total fraud," he said. "And that fraud was perpetrated on the American people with aid and comfort from the extreme MAGA Republican establishment and they are still coddling him here in the United States Congress.”
Spectrum News' Ryan Chatelain contributed to this report.