Sen. John Fetterman commissioned expelled Rep. George Santos to unwittingly make a video on the celebrity video message platform Cameo telling Sen. Bob Menendez – whom Fetterman has called on to resign over charges he acted as a foreign agent to Egypt – to “stay strong.”
“I thought my ethically-challenged colleague @BobMenendezNJ could use some encouragement given his substantial legal problems. So, I approached a seasoned expert on the matter to give ‘Bobby from Jersey’ some advice,” Fetterman, a Pennsylvania Democrat, tweeted Monday.
In the video, Santos, the New York Republican who last week became only the sixth lawmaker to be expelled from Congress after a damning ethics report, says, “Hey, Bobby! I don’t think I need to tell you, but these people that want to make you get in trouble and want to kick you out and make you run away, you make them put up or shut up!”
Santos adds, “You stand your ground, sir, and don’t get bogged down by all the haters out there. Stay strong. Merry Christmas!”
Some Senate Democrats have called for Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, to resign after he and his wife, Nadine Arslanian Menendez, were indicted in September on corruption-related offenses. They are accused of accepting “hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes” in exchange for the senator’s influence and have pleaded not guilty.
Later Monday, Santos responded to Fetterman’s tweet, saying he didn’t realize “Bobby” was Menendez.
“I love this! I wish I knew the Bobby in question! LOL,” Santos wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Days after the House voted 311 to 114 to expel Santos, he joined the celebrity video message platform, where he is charging $200 per video. “Former Congressional ‘Icon’!” his bio says, describing him as “The Expelled member of Congress from New York City.”
Santos will record a personal video greeting under a variety of subjects: holiday, birthday, gossip, pep talk, roast, advice or question – or, an unwitting political jab.
Ohio Democrats posted on X that they too bought a Cameo from Santos, having the former congressman record a message thanking Ohio GOP Senate candidate Bernie Moreno for “maxing out” on donations to Santos’ campaign in 2022.
“Hey, I just wanted to stop by and say thank you to Bernie Moreno from Ohio for when I ran for US Congress in 2022 for maxing out to my campaign,” Santos says in the video. “Unfortunately, you know, it ended, it’s over, but I want to say thank you very much for that donation and for all the support and I hope that in the future I can come back and be part of the game again.”
CNN has reached out to representatives for Fetterman, Menendez and Moreno for comment.
The House last week voted to expel Santos after an ethics committee report concluded the congressman had “sought to fraudulently exploit every aspect of his House candidacy for his own personal financial profit.”
Separate from the allegations outlined by the committee, Santos has pleaded not guilty to 23 federal charges, including allegations of fraud related to Covid-19 unemployment benefits, misusing campaign funds and lying about his personal finances on House disclosure reports.
Santos has also sparked controversy on Capitol Hill over revelations that he fabricated large parts of his life story, including significant elements of his resume. He has remained defiant to the end, saying, “To hell with this place,” after his expulsion.
It’s unusual for politicians to join Cameo, CEO Steven Galanis told on CNN Monday, but Santos is no longer subject to campaign finance laws.
Galanis described Cameo as a platform that reflects popular culture – and the “right person at the right time just pops.” Santos has sold out of available videos multiple times during his first day on the app, Galanis said, and the company has continued to increase the cap on the amount of videos he is allowed to churn out.
Santos, who received a sendoff from comedian Bowen Yang on the “Saturday Night Live” cold open this weekend, isn’t the only ex-politician to jump on the platform. He joins the ranks of former White House press secretary Sean Spicer and Rudy Giuliani, former New York City mayor and adviser to Donald Trump.
CNN’s Jack Forrest, Clare Foran and Haley Talbot contributed to this report.