Rep. Nick LaLota calls former Rep. George Santos “an embarrassment,” “bizarre” after Santos announces plans to run again

NEW YORK — Disgraced former Congressman George Santos made a surprise appearance at Thursday night’s State of the Union, followed by a surprise announcement that he wants to work in Washington again.

So what was Santos doing yukking it up at the State of the Union? Well, the rules say ex-congressmen, even disgraced expelled ex-congressmen, still have lifetime floor privileges.

That prompted Democrat Ritchie Torres, of the Bronx, to announce Friday he will introduce the “GEORGE” rule — “Getting Expelled Officially Revokes Guaranteed Entry.”

In a statement, Torres said, “Name me any other example where you can get publicly fired from your job, leave in absolute disgrace, but maintain the right to come to your old workplace as you please.”

“George Santos is one of the most bizarre people I have ever met. I surely didn’t hug him or greet him with any sort of niceness whatsoever,” Rep. Nick LaLota said.

Santos announced Thursday that he will challenge LaLota in the Republican primary for the First Congressional District on the east end of Long Island.

LaLota did not seem concerned.

“He’s an embarrassment here in Congress,” he said.

In a statement, Santos called LaLota a “Republican in name only” and says he looks forward to debating him in the future.

Santos is facing 23 felony counts and has a reputation for telling tall tales — reasons why Democrats on Friday gleefully decided to put him front and center as part of the face of the GOP.

“At this point, it’s Marjorie Taylor Greene on the inside and Santos on the outside, but clearly he’s trying to come back,” House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries said.

New York Republicans voted to expel Santos in part to get rid of the distraction, but now he’s back, right as they run for reelection and right as the balance of power in the House sits on a razor’s edge.

“New York does play very heavily, if not in electing the president, it will in determining the future of House leadership,” Hunter College Professor Basil Smikle said.

Santos has his work cut out for him. The primary in the First Congressional District is only a few months away, in June.

Santos has pleaded not guilty to charges.

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