House Speaker says he will remove Rep. George Santos if Ethics Committee finds him guilty

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House Speaker says he will remove Rep. George Santos if Ethics Committee finds him guilty

The freshman congressman from New York would be removed from office if the Ethics Committee found he broke the law after admitting he fabricates parts of his background, and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said he would be removed from office while he stands by Rep. George Santos.

McCarthy was asked at a news conference about why he still supports Santos, who has lied about much of his background, including a false claim that his mother was at the World Trade Center during the 9-11 terrorist attacks.

McCarthy pushed back, asked whether he is standing by Santos because his resignation would cut into the House Republicans' narrow majority.

McCarthy said that his constituents voted for him. I do not have the power simply because I disagree with someone or what they have said that I remove them from elected office. McCarthy said he would hold Santos to the same standard as I hold anyone else elected to Congress, as he deferred to the House Ethics Committee on the matter.

If for some way when we go through Ethics that he has broken the law, then we will remove him, but that is not my role, McCarthy said. I believe in the rule of law. A person is innocent until proven guilty. McCarthy then knocked President Joe Biden down for exaggerating his academic record in the past. If I were to hold the standard if someone lied, Joe Biden couldn't be president right now. He told us he had three degrees, he had first graduated in his class, the many times before. The speaker said that he should not be sensational.

McCarthy said that Santos constituents elected him: He has a responsibility to uphold what they voted for, to work and have their voice here, but at any time if it rises to a legal level, we will deal with it. Two Democratic New York lawmakers, Reps. Dan Goldman and Ritchie Torres, filed a complaint with the House Ethics Committee earlier this month about Santos' failure to file timely, accurate and complete disclosure reports. They asked for an investigation into Santos, alleging that he was in violation of the Ethics in Government Act.

McCarthy's latest remarks came as Santos was awarded seats on two House committees: Science, Space and Technology and Small Business. After Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York, the House Democratic leader, McCarthy blocked Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell from serving on the House Intelligence Committee.

A growing number of Republican lawmakers have urged Santos to resign after state GOP leaders in New York said he should step aside over the lies and fabrications in his biography, which he ran on in the 2022 midterm election.

McCarthy has stopped short of joining the calls.

I try to stick by the Constitution. McCarthy said earlier this month that the voters elected him to serve. He has to go through that if there is a concern. The voters have a say in the decision. It is not where people can pick and choose based on what they see from the press. He will continue to serve.