From McCarthy To Santos: GOP Rules ‘Messy’ House

No one promised a rose garden to the Republican Party after winning back the House majority, and it has been anything but that for the first year. From ousting Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to expelling former Rep. George Santos (R-NY), it has been a grueling 2023.

Rep. Mike Lawler (R-NY) conceded that there has been turmoil in the lower chamber. “Is it messy? Yeah, sure,” he said. “But when you’re actually governing in a democratic republic, it can be messy.”

A House majority had never knocked the Speaker from their perch, and expelling a member charged but not convicted had not occurred since the Civil War.

That happened on Friday when Santos was given his walking papers by the full House. A harshly critical ethics report exposed his alleged misdeeds that included converting campaign funds into his personal piggy bank.

The historic vote was 311-114. The threshold is high, but the weight of the accusations against Santos proved too much even for his party colleagues.

Many Republicans held their noses and voted against expulsion for the simple reason that Democrats remain in office accused of far worse crimes. If anything, the result proved that the GOP holds itself to a higher standard that its political rivals.

Santos did not leave quietly, but instead chose to hold a news conference on the Capitol steps. He defended the life he claimed to lead prior to running for office, though everything from his education and work experience to ethnicity was called into question.

And he was far from repentant.

He chose to defend himself from “bullying” and the “smear” campaign waged against him. Admitting he would do things differently if given the chance, Santos proclaimed, “This is my battle.”

He further declared that he would not go “quietly.” The disgraced now-former representative said, “The people of the Third District of New York sent me here. If they want me out, you’re going to have to go silence those people and go take the hard vote.”

Democrats show no such courage in policing their own when they hold a razor-slim majority.

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NY) faces indictment for the second time in his political career. This time he is accused along with his wife and others of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in lavish gifts from foreign sources in exchange for favorable votes.

Yet Democrats are oddly silent and he remains a senator.