Many Republicans are expressing deep concern over a “dangerous precedent” being set by former Rep. George Santos’s (R-NY) expulsion from the U.S. House of Representatives without being convicted of a crime.
Santos was ousted from the lower chamber on Friday in a 311-114 vote, as Breitbart News reported, with 105 Republicans breaking with 206 Democrats to boot the congressman, setting a new precedent.
The bottom line is today’s unprecedented action taken by the House could influence and endanger George Santos’ right to a fair trial by playing judge, jury, and executioner.
Click here to listen to my full statement on the expulsion of Rep. Santos. pic.twitter.com/ofR4HvHQ91
— Rep. Cory Mills 🇺🇸 (@RepMillsPress) December 1, 2023
Rep. Cory Mills (R-FL) noted after the vote that in the history of the U.S. Congress, just five members had been expelled, “three of which had fought for the Confederacy or were expelled in 1861, and the other two who had been convicted, not accused or indicted, but convicted of actual criminality.”
We set a very dangerous precedent in America when this institution is allowed to expel and play judge, juror, and executioner on someone who had not had yet their constitutional right to have their day in court to approach their accusers before a jury of their peers.
Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) also took to X to share a similar sentiment.
“What happened to the presumption of innocence principle?” he wondered, adding that Santos’s “expulsion sets a dangerous precedent.”
What happened to the presumption of innocence principle?
The House just expelled a Member without a criminal conviction for the first time since the Civil War!
We still don't know much about Mr. Santos, but his expulsion sets a dangerous precedent.
— Rep Andy Biggs (@RepAndyBiggsAZ) December 1, 2023
Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC) wondered, “What about Santos warranted departing from 234 years of the precedent that expulsion from Congress for alleged criminal acts follows conviction?”
“I couldn’t identify anything,” he added.
What about Santos warranted departing from 234 years of the precedent that expulsion from Congress for alleged criminal acts follows conviction? I couldn’t identify anything. I’ll be interested to see any comment that can.
— Rep. Dan Bishop (@RepDanBishop) December 1, 2023
When the tally was rolling in during the vote, and it became evident Santos would be removed from Congress, Rep. Tom Tiffany (R-WI) posted on X that “Removing a sitting member of Congress who has yet to be convicted of any crimes sets a dangerous precedent.”
Removing a sitting member of Congress who has yet to be convicted of any crimes sets a dangerous precedent.
New York’s Third Congressional District elected Mr. Santos.
They should be the judge on removing him.
— Rep. Tom Tiffany (@RepTiffany) December 1, 2023
“New York’s Third Congressional District elected Mr. Santos,” wrote Tiffany. “They should be the judge on removing him.”
During an appearance on Newsmax Newsline after the vote, Rep. Eric Burleson (R-MO) voiced his worries as well:
"We're setting a very dangerous precedent, where we're expelling a member before they are convicted in a court of law." @RepEricBurlison warns about the consequences of expelling Rep. George Santos. @BiancaDLGarza pic.twitter.com/M3T4zJ6eij
— NEWSMAX (@NEWSMAX) December 1, 2023
On Thursday, the eve of the vote, House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) noted that Republicans gathered in a conference meeting where members expressed differing views.
.@SpeakerJohnson on resolution to expel Rep. George Santos (R-NY) from Congress: "I trust that people will make that decision thoughtfully and in good faith. I personally have real reservations about doing this. I'm concerned about a precedent that may be set for that." pic.twitter.com/6lXBjeW6qt
— CSPAN (@cspan) November 29, 2023
He noted some members, including himself, harbored the concerns laid out by Mills, Biggs, and others about the precedent this sets moving forward, while others contended that “upholding the rule of law requires us to take this step now because some of the things that he’s alleged to have done, with the House Ethics Committee having done their job, are infractions against the House itself,” Johnson said.
Johnson, who emphasized there would be no whipping of the vote, shared he had “real reservations about doing this.”
“I’m concerned about a precedent that may be set for that,” he said.
Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX) held the same viewpoint on Thursday before Friday’s vote, saying it would be “lowering the bar for the future.”
While I disagree with the actions of Geroge Santos, expelling him would set a dangerous precedent in Congress, lowering the bar for the future.
He will have his day in court and at the ballot box.
— Randy Weber (@TXRandy14) December 1, 2023
“He will have his day in court and at the ballot box,” wrote Weber in a post on X.
In October, Santos was charged federally in the Eastern District of New York with 23 counts in a superseding indictment, ranging from conspiracy to commit offenses against the United States to counts of wire fraud to counts of making materially false statements to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and more.
As Breitbart News noted, an Investigative Subcommittee (ISC) report on Santos released by the House Ethics Committee on November 16 found that the Santos campaign used donations for botox treatments, OnlyFans, and lodging in Atlantic City and Las Vegas.