RNC Comms Director Discusses Congressman-Elect George Santos’ Scandal : NPR

NPR’s Steve Inskeep talks to Republican political advisor Douglas Heye (senior) concerning the deceptions of Rep.-elect George Santos and the GOP’s response.


A brand new Congress takes workplace this week. And the large adjustments embrace a brand new majority within the Home. Republicans very narrowly took management within the fall election. However their early effort to set the agenda was overshadowed by a battle over who will get to talk. And so is the story of 1 newly elected Republican lawmaker.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: George Santos this morning faces but extra questions on his background as one more…

JERICKA DUNCAN: Dozens of his constituents demonstrated at the moment within the congressional district. They known as on that New York Republican to resign. He was underneath fireplace for mendacity…

ANDREA FUJII: Telling native Republican leaders he will not search re-election in 2024 as a result of his background is much more fireplace.

CHARLES LAVINE: As we stand right here at the moment watching this sluggish prepare wreck of George Santos.

INSKEEP: Santos seems to have misled his constituents about his faith, his training, his work historical past and a declare that a number of of his firm’s workers have been killed within the Pulse nightclub taking pictures in Florida, amongst different issues. Doug Heye follows all this. He’s a former communications director for the Republican Nationwide Committee. good morning

DOUGLAS HEYE: Good morning. Good to be with you, Steve.

INSKEEP: How has this information affected his Republican colleagues within the Home, if in any respect?

HEYE: Nicely, it impacts them as a result of they’re confused by all of this. And it isn’t one lie, it is the subsequent one – virtually a day, a brand new shoe that drops that it’s totally troublesome for them to maintain up and never your typical ornament. These will not be decorations. He did not say he graduated prime of his class. He did issues in complete fabric in methods which are virtually astonishingly disgraceful that you do not see from politicians usually.

INSKEEP: Are Home Republicans pressured to think about him as only one vote they’re going to want? Kevin McCarthy wants votes for speaker. Republicans will want that vote for different issues very quickly.

HEYE: Nicely, undoubtedly for the speaker vote. And what’s fascinating about the way in which Congress works is Santos — until he decides to not, he’ll be on the Home ground. And he’ll vote for speaker. , as a result of we’re specializing in all of the lies and storytelling and all of this that occurred with Santos, and a few clearly probably prison elements, he was duly elected by his constituents or his – shall be his constituents.

So he has each proper to be on the Home ground and make that vote for speaker. And there is nothing Congress can do that may cease him from doing that. What they’ll do is possibly – and it is a very uncommon factor, very similar to having a number of votes for who would be the speaker. They’ll attempt to expel him after the actual fact. There would be the Ethics Committee of the Home and a vote maybe of the Home – of the physique of the Home, your entire Home of Representatives. However that occurs after the actual fact and after the speaker’s vote.

INSKEEP: Sure. And when you concentrate on the ethics committee, they – I do not wish to say they take their time, nevertheless it takes time. He might spend his total congressional time period ready for the end result of that maybe.

HEYE: Completely. Now, we may even see a congressman convey a movement to the ground after there’s a speaker vote to expel him. No thought what is going on to occur on that but. However right here it falls in two strains. One is, you recognize what he mentioned about his background, his faith, his ethnicity. All of this – a lot of it’s, clearly, fully false. After which the issues that we see in his marketing campaign finance stories and so forth that open him as much as prison and ethics — with a capital E, that stands for the Home Ethics Committee — jurisdiction. There he has very actual issues. The remainder of it’s, you recognize, what we comply with in politics the place there could also be no penalties. The legalities, what he is filed on his ethics, on – excuse me, his monetary disclosures and issues like that, that turns into very actual in violations of legislation. And that is the place Congress can act.

INSKEEP: I wish to ask concerning the race of the speaker right here. Republicans are just a few votes above 218, which is a majority. Democrats is not going to vote for Kevin McCarthy. I imagine there are 9 Republicans who signed a letter simply this previous weekend saying they aren’t able to vote for Kevin McCarthy. And if that is true, the numbers do not add up. Do you suppose McCarthy shall be a speaker?

HEYE: I feel he is extra doubtless than anyone else to win that race. And that is – we so usually, maybe an excessive amount of, give attention to politics being a horse race. However it’s true on this case. And Kevin is the favourite. That odds-on favourite does not all the time win the race. However he’s in a greater place to take action than anybody. And what Kevin is doing proper now’s he is going again to his previous job of being the whip for Home Republicans to get the brand new job of Home speaker.

INSKEEP: How would it not have an effect on the general public relying on who turns into Speaker of the Home? Would we see totally different laws from this Home?

HEYE: Laws? No. However how Home Republicans function could possibly be probably totally different. And that is what we see with these 9 Republicans is, you recognize, it tends generally to be virtually nothing-is-good-enough occasion. So for Kevin, he has to get sufficient of them to say that is adequate to help him to be a speaker.

INSKEEP: Doug Heye is a former communications director on the Republican Nationwide Committee. Pleasure speaking with you. Thanks very a lot.

HEYE: Thanks very a lot.

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