Now that the House Ethics Committee has made it clear that Rep. George Santos (R-NY) did indeed engage in “uncharged and unlawful conduct” that could merit his immediate expulsion from Congress, all that remains to be seen is what the congressman will do with what remains of his limited time in office.
Though Santos did say last week that he won’t seek reelection in 2024, he may still have some dangerous games he could play that would throw the House into complete chaos, according to American Enterprise Institute researcher Kevin Kosar., who writes:
How will Santos respond to that vote once he knows it is coming?. He could go gently into the night. He might give a farewell speech like Ohio Democrat James Traficant did in 2002 after he got the boot. Or Rep. Santos instead might torch the House. Specifically, what if he demanded recognition the moment the House of Representatives restarted and raised a question of privilege to vacate the speakership?
A motion to vacate is considered privileged, which means it would take precedence over any other House business, including a move to expel Santos as soon as possible, Kosar notes.
He feels betrayed and scorned. Santos has every reason to fight and keep up the act that he is a victim. Additionally, vacating the Speaker would delay the vote on his own expulsion— no Speaker means the GOP would leave the floor to huddle in conference and figure out who is in charge. And if past is prologue, that could take a while. Not to be forgotten is that pulling this maneuver would be sweet revenge on his party for scorning him.”
And, obviously, trying to vacate the chair would make for great theater, and Santos is all about drama.
While House Republicans might not be willing to give current speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) the boot, Democrats could easily vote as a bloc and make it impossible for Johnson to get the votes he needs to remain, which would likely delight Santos.
The prospect of George Santos temporarily shutting down the House to save his own hide is a troubling one. Thankfully, after further thought and consultation with a maven of House legislative procedure, I found peace. No, Rep. Santos can’t torch the House. Sure, he can try, but it would fail.
It would fail, but just imagine the damage it could do to the GOP with a national election now less than a year away.