Rep. George Santos, the New York Republican whose various deceptions have gotten him into trouble with colleagues and the Justice Department, remained defiant Friday during a three-hour appearance on a live audio program.
‘Do you want to send me away? I will wear it as a badge of honor,” he declared, adding, “I will be the only one who gets expelled from school because people didn’t like me.”
Santos has spoken conservative host Monica Matthews on X Spacesformerly known as Twitter Spaces, about two weeks after a scathing House ethics report found he spent thousands of campaign dollars on Botox and other luxury items for himself.
“I will defend myself until the end of time,” Santos said.
Even before taking the oath of office in January, Santos was plagued by accusations ranging from the silly to the serious. He previously admitted to lying about certain elements of his background, including claiming he was Jewish and had worked for elite financial firms. Federal prosecutors charging him with nearly two dozen counts say he used campaign funds as his personal bank account; Santos pleaded not guilty.
While the embattled congressman survived an expulsion vote in early November, the ethics committee report now appears to have laid the groundwork for his expulsion.
The Republican chairman of the House of Representatives Ethics Committee, Rep. Michael Guest (Mrs.), has already introduced a resolution for his expulsion, which will likely be voted on next week.
Santos initially lashed out at Guest, calling him a “pussy,” the report a “substantive political hit piece” and the commission “a damn weapon they don’t like.”
“It won’t be the guy from Mississippi who will kick me, a New Yorker, out of Congress,” Santos said, adding, “No offense to people from Mississippi.”
He also steadfastly refused to consider resigning, saying, “I’m not going to resign.” I have not been found guilty of anything.”
He repeatedly claimed that “it’s not over until I say it’s over.”
But Santos later acknowledged that he would likely soon be out of a job.
“I know I will be expelled if this expulsion resolution comes to the floor because people are so quick to judge and ask and demand political opportunism,” he said.
“Try it! It’s a badge of honor for me,” he said again.
Throughout the interview, which included a conversation with fellow Rep. Robert Garcia (D-California), Santos portrayed himself as a victim of cold political calculations. Under pressure from Garcia to “do the right thing” and resign, Santos likened resignation to pleading guilty.
Instead, he interpreted his inevitable departure from Congress as his own choice.
“I’m not running for re-election because I don’t want to work with a bunch of hypocrites. It’s disgusting,” Santos said.
“I have colleagues who are more concerned about getting drunk every night with the next lobbyists they’re going to screw and pretend like none of us know what’s going on and sell out the American people. They don’t show up to vote because they’re too hungover or whatever the reason is,” he continued, without naming names.
Santos made other accusations against anonymous colleagues later in the interview, bizarrely lamenting the declining reporting of extramarital affairs.
“Since I’ve been in Congress, reporters haven’t wanted to write about adultery,” he said. “And believe me, enough has happened in this Congress, and no one is writing about it anymore because George Santos is here.”
If it is discussed, he says, it will be on an obscure blog or hidden in the newspaper: “It is no longer the front page like it used to be.”
Regarding his fellow New York Republicans — a delegation that helped lead the effort to deport him — Santos compared them to high school students in a clique.
“I don’t care about being part of their boys’ club,” Santos said. He added: “In my delegation there are maybe two members that I would fight for. The rest can be ground sand. … The other 23 can be blown up for me.”
The stakes have never been higher