Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) has one word to describe his tenure in Congress as he stares down a third expulsion vote that has the best chance for success yet: brave.
Asked during a wide-ranging conversation with reporters to sum up his time on Capitol Hill in one word, Santos responded with “brave,” citing his voting record in the House.
“Not everybody would be brave enough to go up against what I did and actually take the votes I took,” he added. “I bucked leadership in key votes that they did not expect me to.”
Santos specifically pointed to his vote against the bill to raise the debt limit — dubbed the Fiscal Responsibility Act — that was negotiated by President Biden and then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).
At the time, Santos released a statement expressing concerns about the lack of spending cuts in the bill and how it did not raise the state and local tax (SALT) deduction cap.
“I do not want to look back in the future and bear the burden of stiffing the American people with a government drunk on overspending when I had the opportunity to stop it,” Santos said. “We need effective and meaningful spending cuts — this bill is loaded with exceptions that cost billions, and it is riddled with concessions rather than negotiations.”
“Congress needs to be in this based on making real change, not protecting their seat in Congress,” he added. “A good starting point for a more favorable bill would have been to find a place in the 4 trillion dollars to raise the SALT tax deduction cap.”
On Thursday, Santos said he has “no regrets of the work I’ve done in Congress” but “had regrets of people I associated with within the fours years that I campaigned.”
“100 percent proud of my congressional voting record, 100 percent proud of everything I stood for in here,” he later said.
Santos’s reflection comes one day before the House is set to vote on a resolution to expel him amid mounting political and legal drama. The vote — which follows two previous votes on Santos’s expulsion — follows the release of a report from the House Ethics Committee that said the embattled lawmaker “violated federal criminal laws.”
It also found that he used campaign funds for trips to Atlantic City and Las Vegas, on Botox, at the luxury brand Hermès and for purchases from OnlyFans, a subscription platform that is largely used for adult content.
Asked about the charges for Botox on Thursday, the congressman said, “I use cosmetic Botox and filler, that’s not a secret, I mean did anybody ever doubt that?” But he did not comment on the use of campaign funds.