Newt Gingrich Weighs in on the Historic House Vote to Expel Rep. George Santos from Congress

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

History was made on Friday when the House of Representatives voted to expel Rep. George Santos (R-NY) from Congress. He became just the sixth House member ever to be removed from office in this way. 

On Friday’s show, Megyn was joined by former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, author of March to the Majority, to discuss the breaking news and the precedent it sets going forward.

Santos Expelled

The House of Representatives voted on Friday by a 311 to 114 margin to remove Santos from office. Some 105 Republicans joined 206 Democrats in favor of the resolution to oust the embattled lawmaker. Republican leadership in the House, including Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-LA), voted to keep Santos in Congress.

Santos had survived previous attempts to oust him – including one in early November – but many Republicans reneged on their support in the wake of the findings of a 56-page ethics report that concluded he broke federal laws, stole campaign donations, and delivered a “constant series of lies” on his way to winning a U.S. House seat in the 2022 midterm election. While Santos had said he would not seek reelection, he refused to resign.

The expulsion immediately vacates New York’s 3rd Congressional District, and New York state Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul now has 10 days to call for a special election. Gingrich expects the GOP to hold onto the seat. “Given the size of the recent Republican majorities in Long Island, there’s a very real likelihood they will elect another Republican – one who’s more conservative and more honest than Santos,” he said.

History Made

Santos became just the sixth congressman in history to be expelled from the House, which requires two-thirds support (or 290 out of 435 votes). The Constitution does not clearly define what behavior rises to the level of expulsion, but it does give each chamber of Congress the power to punish members.

The five other representatives who faced expulsion were removed because of criminal convictions or ties to the Confederacy. In 1861, John B. Clark, John W. Reid, and Henry C. Burnett were removed for disloyalty to the Union during the Civil War. 

In 1980, Michael “Ozzie” Myers (D-PA) was expelled after being convicted of bribery and corruption. Most recently, Ohio Democrat James Traficant, Jr., was voted out by a 420 to 1 margin in 2002 following a criminal conviction on racketeering, bribery, obstruction of justice, and tax evasion charges.

In October, Santos was hit with a 23-count indictment in New York related to inflating his campaign’s fundraising numbers and charging campaign contributors’ credit cards without their consent, but he has not yet stood trial.

In Gingrich’s view, Santos “is a liar and a crook,” who is “totally arrogant” and “totally untrustworthy.” He noted the vote to expel the New York Republican was not partisan. “If you’re a partisan Democrat and you have a chance to throw out a Republican, that’s an easy vote,” he said. “But he had basically a majority of the House Republicans vote to expel him.”

Despite the rare moment of unity from House Republicans and Democrats, Gingrich said the process gives him pause. “Under our system, you are elected by the people of your district,” he concluded. “Unless you’ve done something extraordinary, it’s really inappropriate for the other members to render judgment.”

You can check out Megyn’s full interview with Gingrich by tuning in to episode 678 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.