NEW YORK — Ousted Republican Rep. George Santos said Tuesday he misses being in Congress — but not so much that he feels compelled to vote in the special election for his replacement.
“Sure. I miss it. Of course I do. I worked really hard to get there,” Santos told reporters as he walked out of a hearing in his federal fraud case on Long Island.
His remark is a turnaround from December, when he told CNN “to hell with this place” when he was expelled from the House of Representatives.
Asked Tuesday about the special election for the House seat he held for 11 months, Santos told reporters: “I don’t vote for Democrats.”
He went on: “I’m not voting in the special election.” Former Rep. Tom Suozzi, a Democrat, is squaring off against Republican candidate Mazi Melesa Pilip on Feb. 13 for the vacant seat representing parts of Queens and Nassau County.
Santos appeared at a hearing on deadlines and dates in his fraud case. Judge Joanna Seybert said Tuesday they’re making “great progress” in regard to “getting the case ready for trial.”
The truth-challenged ex-congressman has entered plea negotiations, and Monday added two more lawyers, Andrew Leopoldo and Robert Fantone, to his defense team.
His defense attorney Joseph Murray said Monday that the new lawyers would help review the reams of discovery documents sent to them by prosecutors, and would be on hand if any conflict-of-interest issues arise.
Santos, who lied about nearly every aspect of his life during his successful run for office in 2022, faces a crush of fraud and identity theft charges, including allegations he stole people’s identities and made unauthorized charges on campaign donors’ credit cards to buy designer clothes and pay personal debts.
Santos, who wore Wayfarer Ray-Ban sunglasses, dark blue suede Prada loafers, a dark blue overcoat with a gray-and-blue plaid scarf, a dark blue turtleneck under a dark blue blazer and dark-colored pants, answered reporters’ questions on the elevator ride down from the courtroom.
The elevator was so packed with reporters that one of his lawyers had to wait and take another one down.
When asked about his two new attorneys, he said, “I love them. I’ve worked with them in the past,” then responded to a question about in what capacity he worked with them, “None of your concern.”
Santos, who’s been recording personal Cameo videos since his ouster — the going rate is $350 a video, as of Tuesday — refused to say what he’s doing for a living.
He also claimed that the jacket he wore during his interview with comedian Ziwe was stolen from his car on Dec. 26, and took a swipe at Mayor Eric Adams’ spokesman Fabien Levy, who quipped on Twitter.com, “99% sure you broke into the car yourself.”
“Mayor Adams’ spokesperson should really watch his a--,” Santos said.
Levy declined to comment, but provided this statement from Adams spokesman Charles Lutvak: “Sounds like a private citizen is threatening a public official.”