Rep. George Santos was expelled from the House of Representatives on Friday in a bipartisan vote of 311-114.
Only the sixth member of the House to be ousted this way in history — the last one being Rep. James Traficant 21 years ago — Santos will be remembered in history for much more than belonging to a small group of disgraced congressmen.
The freshman congressman was initially praised for flipping a Democratic district in last year’s midterm elections, but soon after, Santos came under fire for fabricating much of his life story and resume.
Santos claimed to be a star volleyball player at Baruch College, a college he did not attend, and to help make “landmark deals on Wall Street,” where he never worked.
Santos also lied about his family history. He claimed that his mother was a survivor of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack, but immigration documents found she was not in the United States at the time. He also lied about never claiming to be Jewish, which he did and isn’t, claiming he said that he was “Jew-ish,” instead, whatever that means.
In October, Santos was indicted and pleaded not guilty to 23 federal charges related to financial fraud. Some of the allegations were that Santos used campaign funds for personal purposes and falsified campaign financial records.
Some of these personal purchases included luxury items from Sephora and Hermès, Botox injections and subscriptions on OnlyFans. At least he was snatched and satisfied on his way out of the House, I guess.
What finally pushed the House to expel Santos was an ethics report released by the House Committee on Ethics on Nov. 16. The report concluded that he “sought to fraudulently exploit every aspect of his House candidacy for his own personal financial profit.”
When the resolution to expel Santos was raised, Santos called out his fellow representatives for wasting the American people’s time when they could be working on issues such as inflation and border security.
“If this city put in the effort to fixing our country the same way that they put on expelling me, we’d be in a better place,” Santos told reporters. “But this place is littered in political theater, and the American people are the ones paying the price.”
Here’s the thing: I agree with this point. Congress has succumbed to a culture of political theater.
The first domino was tipped over by former President Donald Trump, whose erratic playbook for his 2016 campaign and beyond has involved deception, defamation and downright bullying, making him the star of every news outlet to this day.
Now, Trump’s supporters in the House have contributed to Congress’ devolvement into madness and drama.
Rep. Lauren Boebert was kicked out of a production of “Beetlejuice: The Musical” for vaping and fondling her date, and Rep. Matt Gaetz helped lead the effort that extended Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s Speaker of the House vote into a 15-ballot affair, to name a few instances.
I hope I’m not the only one questioning how some of these people were elected to office, Santos included. But Santos is right in saying that Congress needs to put the theatrics to rest and focus on policy.
That being said, Santos has not practiced what he decided to start preaching when the resolution to expel him arose.
During his time in the House, Santos has been nothing short of a joke. When he wasn’t surprising reporters with doughnuts outside his office, he was introducing an anti-vaccine bill named after rapper Nicki Minaj — seriously, look it up.
Furthermore, Santos’ post-expulsion activity has been absolutely ridiculous.
Santos told comedian Ziwe via X, formerly Twitter, that he would be interested in an interview on her satirical, self-titled commentary show. He also is entertaining HBO’s plan to make a movie about him — to be fair, he’s criticizing the idea, but it’s giving attention to the project nonetheless.
Hell, I thought Bowen Yang was exaggerating his Santos impression on “Saturday Night Live” until one of Santos’ personalized Cameo videos came up on my TikTok feed. Why is he making Cameos?
X has been ablaze with memes and comical posts about Santos’ expulsion. Many reference his former drag queen days, something he denies, saying “diva down” and telling him to “sashay away,” as though Santos were being eliminated on an episode of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”
Now don’t get me wrong: I’m thoroughly entertained. But Santos has eaten up so much of the media’s and Congress’ attention, and it has to stop.
Congress needs to return to the issues and politics that matter most to the American people. The theatrics need to, like Santos, sashay away.