WASHINGTON, Dec. 2 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday voted to expel New York Republican George Santos from Congress over lies, scandals and alleged campaign finance crimes.
Santos became just the sixth member in the chamber's history to be ousted by colleagues, and the third since the Civil War.
The vote from the lower chamber to expel Santos was 311-114, with 105 Republicans and 206 Democrats voting for expulsion. All Republican leaders voted against expulsion.
A video released on social media showed that following the vote, there was scattered applause in the House chamber.
Amidst a throng of reporters and cameras outside the Capitol, Santos swiftly entered a vehicle and departed.
"As unofficially already no longer a member of Congress, I no longer have to answer a single question from you guys," said Santos. "To hell with this place."
Santos invented ties to the Holocaust and made false claims that his mother was at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. His detractors also mentioned several times that he had allegedly used campaign funds for personal expenses.
The removal of the scandal-ridden 35-year-old Congressman came two weeks after a scathing House Ethics Committee report revealed details about his use of campaign funds for personal benefit. Santos, however, repeatedly debunked the report as a political smear.
Santos faces 23 federal felony counts. A 23-count indictment was filed in October in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, charging him with conspiracy, wire fraud, false statements, falsification of records, aggravated identity theft, and credit card fraud.
"George Santos is a liar -- in fact, he has admitted to many of them -- who has used his position of public trust to personally benefit himself from Day 1," said Rep. Anthony D'Esposito, a Republican of New York.
D'Esposito, whose district neighbors that of Santos, spearheaded the discussion on expulsion, contending that voters would appreciate legislators holding themselves to elevated standards.
Another New York Republican, Rep. Nick Langworthy, asserted that Santos bears sole responsibility for his predicament.
Santos survived two previous expulsion efforts due to the influence of the current House speaker, Mike Johnson, and his predecessor, Kevin McCarthy, who both didn't want to lose his seat to a Democrat in a special election.
Under New York state law, the governor has 10 days to declare the date of a special election.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul said Friday that she was prepared to fill the vacancy. "I am prepared to undertake the solemn responsibility of filling the vacancy in New York's 3rd District. The people of Long Island deserve nothing less," she said on X, formerly Twitter.
Certain legislators voiced apprehensions that removing Santos from his position might establish a precedent for the potential misuse of lawmakers' authority to expel.
His expulsion further diminishes the Republicans' already tenuous majority, now standing at 221-213. The competitiveness of his district, encompassing sections of New York City and Long Island, adds to the significance of this development.
Santos, on his end, has not been stripped of all the perks granted to ex-members. He retains the right to access the House floor and engage with current members. ■