House Republican George Santos just blinked
House Republican George Santos wants you to believe that he’s going to be able to finish out his term and that he’s not going to resign no matter what – and that could well end up being the case. But it’s worth keeping in mind that whenever embattled politicians do end up resigning, they’re usually publicly insisting they’ll never resign right up until the day they resign.
That’s why it’s important to ignore whatever people like Santos are saying, and instead pay attention to their actions. Weeks ago Santos announced that he won’t be seeking reelection in 2024. Now, according to multiple major news outlets, he has informed the House Republican caucus that he won’t be serving on any House committees.
Committee assignments are what make House members relevant; otherwise they’re left to roam the halls while everyone else is in committee meetings. Santos’ decision to give up his committee assignments is a major concession – and not a concession that someone like him would ever make unless he felt he had no choice.
The fact that Santos keeps making these kinds of concessions is de facto proof that he does not consider his seat to be safe. He keeps giving up larger and larger chunks of his congressional existence, for fear that if he doesn’t, he’ll end up being forced to resign.
In that sense, George Santos just blinked. He’s giving away that even if he somehow survives the criminal justice system, he still fears he won’t be able to make it all the way to the end of his term.
The same goes for Kevin McCarthy, who could conceivably lose his speakership if Santos is forced to resign. Santos and McCarthy are surely coordinating their messaging and actions. So if Santos is scared enough that he’s making these major concessions, it means McCarthy is also afraid that Santos could end up being forced out.
In other words, keep up the pressure on them both. With polling showing that the vast majority of George Santos’ district wants him to resign, and growing reports that Long Island area Republicans are trying to find a way to force him out, it’s far from a given that Santos will be able to avoid resigning. Santos knows it. McCarthy knows it. When they publicly claim that Santos is safe until the end of his term, they’re both just spewing empty bluster. So keep pressuring them both. Call them out each time they claim Santos is safe. And let’s see if we can create a scenario where Santos is forced out of Congress even before he reaches the seemingly inevitable criminal indictment stage of his downfall.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report