New York Democrat Rep. Ritchie Torres appeared on MSNBC’s American Voices on Saturday to speak with guest host and former Obama admin HUD Secretary Julián Castro about the 4-day process of electing Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the House.
As the interview wrapped up, Castro asked Torres about freshman Rep. George Santos, the Republican fabulist whose falsehoods about his life and résumé were revealed only after his election in the 2022 midterms.
Santos, during one of the 15 ballots undertaken by the House this week, raised his hand and make an “ok” symbol with his other hand while casting his vote, and images of the combined gesture went widespread online, first on social media and then in blogs and news articles, with many describing it as a “White power symbol.”
Newly elected freshman Rep. George Santos (R-NY) makes White power gesture as he casts his vote for House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy.
— The Intellectualist (@highbrow_nobrow) January 6, 2023
“I joke all the time about how I’m not a white supremacist. I’m a white supremacist-ish.” – George Santos pic.twitter.com/bitENJ8KTW
— W. Kamau Bell (@wkamaubell) January 6, 2023
We asked George Santos’ communications director about the hand gesture he flashed on the U.S. House floor, but she had no response before closing the office door on us https://t.co/pHgzn7pz3Y via @Newsday
— Laura Figueroa Hernandez (@Laura_Figueroa) January 6, 2023
On MSNBC, Castro asked Rep. Torres about the moment, pointing out the congressman’s particular interest in Santos, and saying, “Santos now appears to have perhaps flashed a White power symbol while voting yesterday. What’s your reaction to that?”
“Well, apparently George Santos is not only Latino and Black, but he’s also White now,” said Torres. “He’s just an utter embarrassment. He has no business serving in Congress. It diminishes the institution to have him seated him sworn in.”
Torres added that he sees the Santos scandal, “in the context of the Trumpian rot, the far-right rot that lies at the core of the Republican party.”
CASTRO: Before I let you go, you’ve been one of the harshest critics of fellow New York congressman, freshman Congressman George Santos. You even introduced an act named after him to ban lying on the campaign trail. Santos now appears to have perhaps flashed a White power symbol while voting yesterday. What’s your reaction to that?
TORRES: Well, apparently George Santos is not only Latino and Black, but he’s also White now. He’s just an utter embarrassment. He has no business serving in Congress. It diminishes the institution to have him seated, to have him sworn in. And so I’ve called on him to resign. But George Santos ultimately is not simply a reflection on himself, he’s an indictment of what the Republican Party has become. When you have a political party that has been hijacked by Donald Trump and the far-right charlatans like George Santos will inevitably follow. And so I see the scandal of George Santos in the context of the Trumpian rot, the far-right rot that lies at the core of the Republican party.
Watch the clip above, via MSNBC.
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