Ex-Rep George Santos returns to Capitol Hill for Biden’s State of the Union address

Expelled former Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., is back in the U.S. Capitol on Thursday night to watch President Biden’s State of the Union address.

Santos told reporters it’s his first time being back in the building since he was booted from the House of Representatives late last year along bipartisan lines, with 105 of his fellow Republicans joining Democrats in voting him out.

He said he came to watch the primetime address, noting that as a former member he still retains privileges that include entry to the House floor when the body is in session.

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Ousted Republican Rep. George Santos (C) of New York talks with U.S. Reps. Al Green (D-TX) (L) and Joe Negus (D-CO) ahead of the annual State of the Union address by President Joe Biden during a joint session of Congress in the House chamber at the Capital building on March 7, 2024, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Shawn Thew-Pool/Getty Images)

“I was just visiting with some of my colleagues in a very bipartisan fashion,” Santos said.

He said it felt “different” being back in the building and did not rule out coming back in the future.

Santos also didn’t rule out running for office again, despite pending federal indictments.

“I don’t put anything past my desire to run for office at this point, but right now… I’m a spectator, and I’m just watching,” he said.

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Former U.S. Rep. George Santos (R-NY) (L) sits with Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) at U.S. President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address during a joint meeting of Congress in the House chamber at the U.S. Capitol on March 7, 2024, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

A former fellow member of the New York Congressional delegation, Rep. Ritchie Torres, D-N.Y., blasted Santos over his appearance and called for him to lose his House floor privileges.

“Expelled Congressman George Santos is disgracing the House Floor with his presence. He should be expelled from the House Floor,” Torres wrote on X.

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The former New York Republican congressman was expelled in the wake of a damning House Ethics Committee report that found he misused campaign funds on luxury items and OnlyFans, among other things.

Santos has not been convicted of a crime, but he has been indicted on multiple counts related to wire fraud, identity theft, falsification of records, credit card fraud and other charges. He has pleaded not guilty.

Ousted Republican Rep. George Santos (L) of New York talks with U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) ahead of the annual State of the Union address by President Joe Biden during a joint session of Congress in the House chamber at the Capital building on March 7, 2024, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Shawn Thew-Pool/Getty Images)

His ouster in a 311 to 114 vote slimmed House Republicans’ already perilously thin majority.

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Expelling a member of Congress takes a two-thirds majority vote. The last time a House lawmaker was expelled was more than two decades ago, when late former Rep. Jim Traficant, D-Ohio, was voted out of Congress in 2002. 

Prior to his ousting, Traficant had been convicted of 10 felony counts, including racketeering and taking bribes.

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