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Pelosi slams ‘coward’ Santos for fleeing expulsion vote

By Jake Beardslee · December 2, 2023

In brief…

  • Historic 311-114-2 House vote expelled Santos
  • Pelosi said evidence of Santos' unethical behavior was clear
  • Santos maintained his innocence and refused voluntary resignation
Nancy Pelosi condemned expelled Congressman George Santos as a "coward" for exiting the chamber before the House formally voted 311-114 to remove him from office due to ethics violations he denies.  US Department of Labor/U.S. House Office of Photography/Wikimedia

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sharply criticized newly expelled Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) for exiting the House chamber before the completion of the historic vote to remove him from office. Pelosi labeled Santos a “coward” for not remaining present for the entire proceeding.

“This is a very serious matter to uphold the dignity and respect the House of Representatives,” Pelosi told reporters. “He has not and he didn’t today…by not even showing up and being a coward.”

The House voted 311-114 on Friday, with 2 members voting present, to expel Santos - making him the sixth member in history to be forcibly removed. This vote came after two prior unsuccessful votes. Santos has faced extensive scrutiny over fabrications about his background and investigations into potential campaign finance violations.

Pelosi said it was “necessary” action given the “substantial evidence” of Santos’ alleged unethical and potentially illegal behavior. She commended her colleagues for supporting the expulsion in an overwhelmingly bipartisan manner.

“This was a very bipartisan vote,” Pelosi said. “There was a coming together to say we respect the dignity of the House of Representatives.”

Meanwhile, Santos has maintained his innocence regarding the accusations against him and recently pledged not to voluntarily resign, stating “If I leave, they win…if I leave, the bullies take place. This is bullying.”

Pelosi expressed regret that the situation ended in such a manner but emphasized the need to uphold ethical standards. “This is sad. It’s heartbreaking and I don’t view it as partisan,” she said. “In fact, I’m one of the ones who is reluctant to go forward unless there’s really solid evidence. And this was clear.”