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AOC heckles George Santos after Congress votes on his future: ‘Resign! Resign bro!’

George Santos appeared to cut short his press scrum  (AP)
George Santos appeared to cut short his press scrum (AP)

Democratic representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jamaal Bowman heckled representative George Santos after a resolution to expel the Republican from Congress failed.

Ms Ocasio-Cortez and Mr Bowman confronted the embattled lawmaker on the steps of the Capitol as Mr Santos was speaking to reporters.

Videos captured of the moment from outside the Capitol showed Mr Bowman shouting as Mr Santos spoke to members of the press: “You’ve got to resign, bro!”.

Ms Ocasio-Cortez joined in, screaming “resign” and “you gotta go, you gotta give it up”.

“New Yorkers need better!” Mr Bowman yelled.

Mr Santos who appeared to cut short his press scrum said: “I can’t continue to address you guys because there’s a deranged member here, so I’m gonna walk.”

The exchange between the lawmakers came as the resolution to expel Mr Santos was referred to the House Ethics Committee on Wednesday.

The House voted 221 to 204 to refer the resolution to the ethics panel rather than subject the resolution to a full House floor vote. A vote to expel Mr Santos would have required two thirds of the House to vote in favour of it.

Representative Robert Garcia, a Democrat from California, attempted to force a vote on Mr Santos’s expulsion after he was arrested last week.

“George Santos should not have access to our country’s most guarded secrets,” Mr Garcia said at a news conference Wednesday.

Last week, the Justice Department slapped Mr Santos with 13 charges, including unemployment fraud, making false statements to the House of Representatives and running a fraudulent political contribution solicitation scheme. He was later arrested after he turned himself in.

“Last week, the House voted on legislation regarding unemployment fraud, and he voted for it while standing accused of unemployment fraud,” he said.

The confrontation by Ms Ocasio-Cortez and Mr Bowman was followed by the latter’s heated argument with representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, an exchange also caught on camera.

Ms Ocasio-Cortez attempted to break the argument by saying, “She ain’t worth it, bro” as the two bickered over gun laws and other issues. Ms Greene had started chanting “impeach Biden”.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy opposed expelling the freshman Republican, though he said he would not support Mr Santos for re-election. But Mr McCarthy said he would rather have the House Ethics Committee take up the expulsion resolution.

“You got to have a process,” Mr McCarthy said in a news conference. “So I’m going to ask the Ethics Committee look at this and don’t look at a long time basis.”

Republicans who had previously called on Mr Santos to resign voted to refer his expulsion to the Ethics Committee.

“I am in the understanding that we do not have the two-thirds support from members of this House to expel that individual,” fellow Republican Representative Anthony D’Esposito of New York said.

“I believe this individual is a stain on the institution, a stain on the state of New York and a stain on Long Island and a stain on the beloved Nassau County. With that said, we believe this resolution should be referred to the Committee on Ethics to ensure a thorough and expedient investigation into this matter.”

Typically, the House Ethics Committee halts investigations of members once the Justice Department begins an investigation. But Mr Garcia said the resolution on Mr Santos’s expulsion was already in the House Ethics Committee, which has an equal number of Republicans and Democrats.

After the vote, Mr Garcia criticised Mr McCarthy’s effort to refer the resolution to the Ethics Committee as a way to save face.

“George Santos is a fraud, and Kevin McCarthy’s efforts to protect him with this vote will fail,” he tweeted. “We will continue to hold him and those who protect him accountable for his fraud and lies.”

Mr Santos has come under fire ever since he flipped a Democratically-held seat on Long Island that voted for president Joe Biden in 2020 when multiple news reports revealed he fabricated major parts of his life story such as being of Jewish heritage, where he attended college and working at Goldman Sachs.

Since then, he’s faced multiple calls from Republicans both in his home district and his state to resign.