Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) told CNN on Thursday that it wasn’t his place to call for his truth-allergic colleague George Santos’ resignation, only for anchor Victor Blackwell to remind him he’s had no problem demanding President Joe Biden to step down.
Amid growing uproar for Santos to resign over the non-stop flood of allegations that he fabricated most of his résumé and biography, the freshman New York congressman has remained defiant. Even with most lawmakers from his home state urging him to quit, Santos has said he won’t leave Congress unless everyone who voted for him individually calls on him to do so.
Despite the vast web of lies he’s been accused of weaving, House Republicans rewarded Santos with two assignments earlier this week on the small business and science committees.
As a member of the influential House Steering Committee, which decides which lawmakers get committee seats, Donalds was asked on Thursday about Santos’ qualifications. (Donalds, one of the MAGA holdouts during this month’s contentious speaker vote, obtained his own marquee committee assignments after flipping his vote for House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.)
The GOP lawmaker essentially told Blackwell his hands were tied when it came to placing Santos on various committees—while simultaneously justifying the disgraced congressman’s new assignments.
“Specifically to George and this situation, that’s something that is really not my ability to get involved with because that’s between him and his voters,” the Florida lawmaker stated. “But every member of Congress is actually placed on committees. That’s how the process works.”
He continued: “We’re going to place him on committees and then if something else happens down the line, then we’ll revisit the decision. But there are members who do sit on committees in Congress that’s not a biographical background part of what they’ve done in their life before Congress. And they sit on these various committees and try to do the best job possible on behalf of their district but also on behalf of the American people.”
Noting that several House Republicans and most Democrats have now called for Santos to resign as his scandals continue to multiply, Blackwell wondered why Donalds hasn’t joined that push.
“Do you think he can serve effectively?” Blackwell asked.
“I think it’s gonna be difficult, no doubt about it, but again if he has the wherewithal to deal with these things that have been caused by him and other things, and still do his job, that still remains to be seen,” the Republican congressman replied.
“About the growing list of people calling for resignations, no, I have not joined that,” Donald added. “Simply because I don’t think that’s the job of another member of Congress to say or call for. I think that’s something between him and his voters. He has to deal with that on an individual basis.”
The CNN anchor, however, brought up an inconvenient truth to push back on Donalds’ sudden reticence. “Well, I will say that you called for President Biden to resign and 84 million people voted for him,” Blackwell retorted, concluding the interview with that parting shot.
While Blackwell did get the number of votes Biden received in the 2020 election wrong (it was actually 81.3 million), he was correct that Donalds has called for Biden’s resignation. In August 2021, the then-freshman lawmaker insisted that the president “resign immediately” over the “botched withdrawal” from Afghanistan.