Delayed gratification: Santos must be removed, but expulsion vote was premature

Yesterday, the House of Representatives did the right thing in rejecting a resolution to expel serial liar Con(gressman) George Santos by sending the matter to where it belongs, the Ethics Committee.

The Democrats, who should know better, including New Yorkers Dan Goldman, Ritchie Torres and Hakeem Jeffries, tried to bypass the normal process and embarrass the Republicans. Speaker Kevin McCarthy was correct to refer to the ethics panel, a measure that passed on a party line vote of 221-204.


Removing an elected, sitting member of Congress should be an incredibly high bar that’s only really met post-trial and conviction or in instances where he has been found by the Ethics Committee to have violated the rules.

Santos, for all his pathological lying, has not been convicted of anything and is voting and introducing bills like a run-of-the-mill right-wing Republican — which is to say, things we mostly disagree with, but that aren’t well outside the norm or obviously benefitting him personally.

The reason this high bar must be met is that legislatures around the country are getting trigger-happy about expelling members, often those that sit on the opposite side of the political spectrum to Santos, for myriad perceived infractions that used to be just part of political sausage-making. The breadth, brazenness and volume of Santos’ lies may well be unprecedented, but it’s that slippery slope to expel members for lying, particularly when that term is used to describe all manner of statements and assertions that are far less clear-cut than Santos’ clear fabrications.

Should we expel members who claim to have supported policies that they’re on record rejecting, and vice versa? That’s lying, right? What about members who misstate the economic impact of a bill they supported? Isn’t that lying? Who ultimately gets to decide what crosses the line and merits expulsion? It is impossible to do this impartially in a definitionally partisan body, so no one should. Santos is a lout and a con man and he needs to go; let the prosecutors and the voters do their jobs.