A number of House Republicans have issued a cautionary message to their fellow chamber members in response to the chamber’s Friday resolution to expel former New York Representative George Santos, who was charged with multiple offenses by the Justice Department in connection with his campaign activities in 2022.
By a vote of 311 to 114, the House surpassed the minimum requirement of two-thirds in order to dismiss Santos. In support of the measure, Democrats cast two abstentions and two present ballots, whereas 104 Republicans supported it.
Democratic chairman of the House Ethics Committee Michael Guest (R-Mississ) sponsored the expulsion measure, Politico reported, after his committee issued a report containing “significant evidence” of Santos’ criminal wrongdoing.
In a video posted to his social media, Rep. Cory Mills (R-FL) noted following the vote that in the history of the U.S. Congress, only five members had been expelled, “three of which had fought for the Confederacy or were expelled in 1861, and the other two who had been convicted, not accused or indicted, but convicted of actual criminality.”
The bottom line is today’s unprecedented action taken by the House could influence and endanger George Santos’ right to a fair trial by playing judge, jury, and executioner.
Click here to listen to my full statement on the expulsion of Rep. Santos. pic.twitter.com/ofR4HvHQ91
— Rep. Cory Mills 🇺🇸 (@RepMillsPress) December 1, 2023
He noted further: “We set a very dangerous precedent in America when this institution is allowed to expel and play judge, juror, and executioner on someone who had not had yet their constitutional right to have their day in court to approach their accusers before a jury of their peers.”
Representative Andy Biggs (R-Arizona) shared a comparable viewpoint regarding the X platform.
“What happened to the presumption of innocence principle?” he wondered, adding that Santos’s “expulsion sets a dangerous precedent.”
Rep. Dan Bishop (R-N.C.) added as well: “What about Santos warranted departing from 234 years of the precedent that expulsion from Congress for alleged criminal acts follows conviction? I couldn’t identify anything.”
Rep. Tom Tiffany (R-Wis.) wrote: “Removing a sitting member of Congress who has yet to be convicted of any crimes sets a dangerous precedent. New York’s Third Congressional District elected Mr. Santos. They should be the judge on removing him.”
As the vote came to a close, the Republican from New York told reporters: “It’s over. They have just established a harmful new standard for themselves. Additional comment was declined by him.
“As unofficially already no longer a member of Congress, I no longer have to answer a single question. That is the one thing that I’m going to take forever,” Santos said.
Despite the last-minute opposition of all four leading Republican House leaders, which significantly eroded Republican support for the measure, the motion nevertheless prevailed by a comfortable margin.
Santos declared his decision to abstain from running for reelection in November, citing a deeply incriminating House Ethics Committee report that implicated him in possible criminal activities.
“Chairman Guest feels that the evidence uncovered in the Committee’s investigation is more than sufficient to warrant punishment and that the most appropriate punishment is expulsion,” Republican Mississippi Rep. Michael Guest’s personal office told Fox News on Thursday.