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Santos refuses to resign, despite GOP pressure and looming expulsion vote

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Embattled Rep. George Santos made clear Thursday morning that he won’t resign from Congress, with a Republican-led expulsion vote likely just a day away.

Pressed why he wouldn’t give up his seat, Santos said: “If I leave, they win. … This is bullying.”

The House could vote on two measures to boot Santos from office in the coming days, one from Democrats and another led by House Ethics Committee Chair Michael Guest (R-Miss.). Those would mark the third and fourth votes to expel the New York Republican this year, but the Guest motion seems likely to pass — with dozens of Republicans who previously opposed the step expected to flip their votes.

The House has expelled five people in the history of the chamber, three for supporting the Confederacy during the Civil War and another two who were convicted of federal crimes.

Republicans had hoped that Santos would use his press conference outside the Capitol to announce that he would resign — something he has vowed repeatedly that he wouldn’t do — and spare his colleagues from having to take a potentially tough vote to remove him. Speaker Mike Johnson privately told his leadership team earlier this week that he had talked through alternatives to an expulsion vote with Santos, including resigning, according to members in the meeting.

But Santos had other plans for his 20-minute gathering. He largely declined to comment on the allegations against him, which include that he used campaign funds for Botox, lavish trips to Atlantic City and OnlyFans. Instead, he called the House “chaos” and vowed to take some potential parting shots, including trying to expel Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) from the House and filing a “slew” of forthcoming complaints.

“If the House wants to start different precedents and expel me, that is going to be the undoing of a lot of members of this body because this will haunt them in the future — where mere allegations are sufficient to have members removed from office,” Santos said, while declining to provide any specific names.

The likely Friday vote on Guest’s motion to expel comes after the Ethics Committee released a report that found that there was “substantial evidence” that Santos violated federal criminal laws. The New York Republican also faces 23 federal charges, with a trial date slated for next September.

Santos indicated he would comment on the accusations at some point in the future. But on Thursday he focused on the Ethics Committee, calling the report “slanderous” and “unprecedented.” But he declined to “unpack” the report.

“I believe they do good work when it’s relevant but this ain’t it,” he added about the committee.

Several Republicans have pointed to the bipartisan Ethics Committee report as their basis for expelling Santos, after previously opposing similar efforts. Many are predicting, in the words of Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.), that the New York Republican is “toast.”

Rep. Zach Nunn (R-Iowa), who walked by Santos’ press conference on Thursday, was overheard saying: “What a joke.”