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Does George Santos' district want him expelled from the House? Here's what some say

JUANA SUMMERS, HOST:

New York Republican Congressman George Santos is still insisting that he will not resign even though another vote on whether to expel him from the U.S. House of Representatives is expected tomorrow. Earlier this month, the House Ethics Committee found that Santos, quote, "blatantly stole from his campaign." Speaking on the House floor earlier today, Santos pushed back on those claims.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

GEORGE SANTOS: I will not stand by quietly. They want me out of this body. The people of the third district of New York sent me here. If they want me out, they're going to have to go silence those people and take the hard vote.

SUMMERS: Well, NPR's Jasmine Garsd is in Long Island. She is in George Santos' district, and she joins us now. Hi there.

JASMINE GARSD, BYLINE: Hello.

SUMMERS: All right, Jasmine, what is it like there? What have you been hearing as you've been talking to folks?

GARSD: Well, I spoke to people from across the political spectrum, and you would be hard-pressed to find anyone here who isn't disgusted with Santos' alleged behavior. Earlier this morning, I spoke to Martens Alves. She was waiting for the train with her two kids, and she said if he does not get voted out, she will feel...

MARTENS ALVES: Really mad - really aggravating, the whole thing. That just shows us that politics are more important than our values.

GARSD: So while Santos seems to think a vote to expel him would be silencing people in his district, there are certainly people here who do not feel that way at all.

SUMMERS: Right. And we should just note, there is, of course, the chance that Santos hangs on to that seat. Are there concerns that that would have larger-scale political repercussions?

GARSD: Well, the sense I got was people being fed up with a system that enabled Santos to rise, that he's symptomatic of a larger problem. A lot of people wouldn't talk to me on record but said something along the lines of, well, you know, this is how low American politics has stooped. One woman who did speak to me was Rina Madia. She was going on a stroll with her mom. And she told me she feels what happens to Santos in the coming days could send a message to other politicians about what kind of behavior they can and cannot get away with.

RINA MADIA: I understand the Republicans' point of view, that they don't want to get rid of him because he is one of the few that they have in power in New York state, a very Democratic state. But we have to do something about this guy because he's being represented as an example, and you don't want that.

GARSD: She says she feels this type of impunity is comparable to any corrupt governments abroad.

SUMMERS: And she points out something that's a big concern for Republicans here in Washington, which is that if Santos is expelled, that will cut into their already slim House majority. What did Republicans there in New York have to say about that?

GARSD: Well, that's definitely a concern. New York votes Democratic, and there's no guarantee that another Republican will win the congressional seat Santos holds, especially after a scandal like this. Santos, for his part, has said he's not going to run for reelection. But Republican constituents I spoke to are also outraged with Santos' behavior. They feel it's just not something the party should stand by. This morning, I spoke to Lou Hochstein (ph) outside a coffee shop. He told me he voted for President Donald Trump, but he just has no more patience left for Santos.

LOU HOCHSTEIN: I mean, he did things that - he used our money to get Botox, and he used our money to go and buy fancy - you see when he dresses, everything is so spiffy and, you know, very nice. So I think he had enough chances. I just - he - I would just toss him out with the garbage and get somebody fresh and new.

GARSD: Santos says he didn't do anything wrong. People in this district are not buying it.

SUMMERS: NPR's Jasmine Garsd. Thank you.

GARSD: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Jasmine Garsd is an Argentine-American journalist living in New York. She is currently NPR's Criminal Justice correspondent and the host of The Last Cup. She started her career as the co-host of Alt.Latino, an NPR show about Latin music. Throughout her reporting career she's focused extensively on women's issues and immigrant communities in America. She's currently writing a book of stories about women she's met throughout her travels.