Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) took aim at ousted Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) after he exited the House chamber Friday before his expulsion vote had come to an end, calling him a “coward” for doing so.
Pelosi said that while the historic 311-114-2 vote to boot Santos was “heartbreaking,” it was “necessary.”
“This is not a casual vote for us. It’s something you take very seriously, and and he should have taken it seriously,” Pelosi told reporters following the vote, adding that he “should have been man about it.”
“This is a very serious matter to uphold the dignity and respect the House of Representatives,” she continued. “He has not, and he didn’t today … by not even showing up and being a coward.”
Friday’s historic vote followed two previously unsuccessful attempts to sack the former New York congressman, who has come under fire over a series of alleged ethics violations, including fraud and campaign finance crimes. Just weeks ago, the House Ethics Committee released a damning report claiming “substantial evidence” of criminal behavior.
Top Stories from The Hill
Santos, now the sixth lawmaker to be expelled from the House, has maintained his innocence. He recently announced that he would not be seeking reelection but would also not prematurely end his term in Congress voluntarily.
“If I leave, they win,” Santos said Thursday. “If I leave, the bullies take place. This is bullying.”
Pelosi commended her colleagues for voting in a bipartisan way.
“This was a very bipartisan vote,” Pelosi said. “There was a coming together to say we respect the dignity of the House of Representatives.”
“This is sad. It’s heartbreaking, and I don’t view it as partisan,” she continued. “In fact, I’m one of the ones who is reluctant to go forward unless there’s really solid evidence. And this was clear.”