Expel George Santos? Republican leaders aren’t ready to take that step
Protecting a narrow, four-vote majority, Republican leaders in the House are making clear that they intend to let the legal process play out with New York Rep. George Santos before they take steps to force his resignation or expel him.
The freshman congressman was accused Wednesday by federal prosecutors of embezzling money from his campaign, falsely receiving unemployment funds and lying to Congress about his finances and could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted. Santos pleaded not guilty.
Republican leaders, who for months have faced mounting questions about Santos after most of his campaign biography was exposed as a lie, were unmoved and brushed aside calls – including from some colleagues – that they take immediate action to push Santos out of Congress.
“In America, there’s a presumption of innocence. But they’re serious charges. He’s going to have to go through the legal process,” said House Majority Leader Steve Scalise of Louisiana.
Scalise was seconded by Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, the No. 3 House Republican, who sidestepped the question of whether Santos should resign.
“As I’ve said from the very beginning on questions on this subject, this legal process is going to play itself out,” she said.