George Santos says voters don't care about his lies, vowing that expulsion wouldn't stop him: 'Nobody elected me because I played volleyball or not'

  • Rep. George Santos says getting kicked out of Congress wouldn't stop him.

  • The embattled New York Republican vowed to run for reelection regardless of what happens.

  • Santos survived a second expulsion vote earlier this week, though another one might be coming.

Embattled Republican Rep. George Santos of New York is adamant that his inflated resume didn't get him into Congress. And he's vowing to ask the same people he lied to to send him back even if his current colleagues kick him out.

"Nobody elected me because I played volleyball or not," Santos told CNN's Manu Raju in an interview that will air in full on Sunday. "Nobody elected me because I graduated college or not.  People elected me because I said I'd come here to fight the swamp, I'd come here to lower inflation, create more jobs, make life more affordable, and the commitment to America."

Santos' defiant stance comes after his colleagues once again voted down an effort to expel him from Congress. On Wednesday, Santos survived on a 179 to 213 vote, well short of the two-thirds majority needed to make him just the sixth lawmaker to ever be kicked out of the House. The latest vote came after Santos' fellow New York freshmen Republicans abruptly turned against him and forced another expulsion vote.

"Look, could I have won the general election last time? Nobody said I could," he said. "Elections are tricky. There's no predetermined outcome."

The Cook Political Report rates Santos' seat as "Lean Democrat," the second-worst outlook for any district that is currently represented by a Republican.

Santos' survival may be short-lived. Many of the 31 Democrats who voted against his expulsion stressed that they were only doing so because Santos had not been found guilty in federal court. Some lawmakers also pointed out that the House Ethics Committee has yet to complete its own investigation of Santos. Leaders of the ethics panel in a rare public statement said it would announce its next action no later than November 17.

After multiple bombshell reports, Santos admitted that he lied to voters about graduating from college and having played for Baruch College's volleyball team. Even more troubling for Santos, he faces federal charges of conspiracy, wire, credit card fraud, and identity theft. In a development that helped spark the latest expulsion vote, Santos' former campaign treasurer flipped and admitted to prosecutors that she and Santos falsified nonexistent campaign donations to inflate his fundraising totals.

Santos is a mixture of a pariah and a punchline inside the Capitol. Former Speaker Kevin McCarthy defended the New Yorker with due process concerns, though he laughed about Santos' reelection prospects. Newly-elected Speaker Mike Johnson has been even more explicit that part of the reason GOP leadership has opposed Santos' expulsion is that they can't afford to make their razor-thin majority even smaller. Unlike the Senate, House vacancies cannot be filled by appointment; they can only be elected via a special election.

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