NEW YORK — Cheerful constituents of ex-Rep. George Santos celebrated his expulsion from Congress on Friday, letting out a collective sigh of relief after 11 months of being represented by the truth-challenged 35-year-old Republican.
Around the corner from Santos’ darkened district office in the rain-slicked Douglaston section of Queens, Maura Flynn said it was a “wonderful thing” that the congressman had been ejected, calling him “unvetted and unqualified.”
Flynn, an illustrator and political independent who has lived in the area for more than 30 years, said the presence of Santos’ office in her neighborhood had been “galling.” Over the last year, her friends had visited to see the office of the notorious fabulist.
“What a mistake,” Flynn said of Santos’ 2022 election.
As a candidate, Santos fashioned a fictional résumé for himself, deceiving voters about his education, religion, family history, professional experience and property ownership.
Another local, Roseann Darche, said Santos “didn’t represent anybody except himself.” She said she started cheering when a notification flashed across her phone Friday saying that Santos had been kicked out of Congress in a bipartisan vote.
Ecstatic texts from her friends soon started to flow in. Santos had exhibited “hostility to the people” during his tenure, Darche said.
“Republicans can be good,” Darche, a Democrat, said, but she added that Santos had risen without sufficient scrutiny. “Nobody did any research on him, including the Democratic Party.”
Roseann Darche, 78, and her husband, Gary, 83, both stopped in front of the green awning of Santos’ office to take triumphant pictures Friday.
“We have been unrepresented in Congress,” Gary Darche, a retired lawyer and a Democrat, said as he sat at the wheel of his car in Douglaston. “I am relieved that this creep is no longer my congressman.”
He faces a 23-count indictment charging him with illegally pocketing unemployment benefits and using the credit card information of his donors, among other charges. He has pleaded not guilty and insisted he is not a criminal.
His office did not respond to a request for comment for this story.
Sheryl Scott, working in an artists’ studio near Santos’ office, offered an understated reflection on Santos’ time in Congress.
“People who take up these offices really need to check themselves,” she said. “You need to be doing it for the well-being of others.”
Arthur Skok, walking to a CVS across the street from Santos’ office in search of Christmas decorations, said he was most outraged by accusations that Santos had swindled money that had been raised in 2016 for a dying dog’s surgery.
“I will never vote for a Republican because of what he’s done,” said Skok, a 23-year-old software developer who also volunteers at a Manhattan animal shelter. “I am ashamed of it. I’m embarrassed that we live here because of that.”
Skok said Friday was a good day, though he added he was “sad that we’re not represented right now.” A special election to replace Santos is not expected until February.
“That’s the price we have to pay for someone who basically cheated his way into being our representative,” Skok said.
“I don’t think there’s any other recourse that could have been made that would have made it right besides kicking him out right now,” Skok said. “It couldn’t have happened too soon.”