ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 149

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US House expels New York Republican who lied about his Jewish identity, other topics

George Santos ejected from the legislature in 311-114 vote over egregious fabrications and criminal charges against him

Republican Representative George Santos of New York leaves the US Capitol after being expelled from the House of Representatives, December 1, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough)
Republican Representative George Santos of New York leaves the US Capitol after being expelled from the House of Representatives, December 1, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The US House of Representatives voted to expel Representative George Santos, the freshman New York Republican whose fabrications and allegations of fraud included false claims of Jewish heritage.

The 311-114 vote met the two-thirds threshold needed to expel a member of the chamber, making Santos only the sixth person in US history to be expelled from the House.

The vote to expel included 105 Republicans — a minority of the party’s seats, but nonetheless an extraordinary number considering that Santos’s departure reduces the GOP majority in the 435-member body to a fragile four.

Speaker Mike Johnson, a Louisiana Republican who along with other GOP House leaders did not back expulsion, announced the results and said the membership of the House had immediately dropped to 434.

Following the vote, Santos threw on his coat and strode out of the chamber.

Santos’s multiple fabrications were first exposed by The New York Times in December of last year, shortly after his election and before he assumed office. Jewish publications including the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, following up on that article, uncovered evidence that he lied about being Jewish, about having Jewish ancestry and about being the descendant of Holocaust survivors.

The fabrications were so egregious that Long Island Republicans, who had campaigned for Santos, immediately called on him to resign, citing in particular his fabrications about his Jewish ancestry. The Republican Jewish Coalition, which just a month prior had platformed him as an exciting new brand of young Jewish Republican, denounced him.

A lengthy House Ethics Committee investigation only alluded to Santos’s lies about his Jewish background, and focused mostly on the evidence underpinning the criminal charges he faces.

There likely will be a special election to replace him. A number of politicians have lined up for the job, including some who are actually Jewish.

Three House members were expelled during the Civil War era for supporting the Confederacy. Two have since been expelled after being convicted of a crime. Santos has been charged with a string of felonies and has pleaded not guilty.

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