Embattled U.S. Representative George Santos should resign from Congress after telling “lie after lie after lie” about his career and history, a group of senior Republicans from his suburban New York district said on Wednesday.
Before the group of more than a dozen top Republicans from Nassau County in New York City’s eastern suburbs were done urging Santos to step down, the newly elected congressman rejected their call, telling reporters at the Capitol that he would stay in office.
The Republicans made their plea at a news conference two days after a nonpartisan watchdog accused Santos of breaking campaign finance laws in a filing with the Federal Election Commission.
“It’s just lie after lie after lie. It became a pattern,” said Joseph Cairo Jr., the party chairman in Nassau County.
Republican Representative Anthony D’Esposito, who represents a neighboring district, was also among those calling on Santos to step down.
“I join with you, and I join with my colleagues in saying that George Santos does not have the ability to serve here in the House of Representatives and should resign,” he said.
Santos reiterated on Twitter his plans to stay.
“I was elected to serve the people of #NY03, not the party & politicians, I remain committed to doing that and regret to hear that local officials refuse to work with my office,” he wrote, referring to the congressional district he represents.
Top Republicans in the House of Representatives, who hold a narrow 222-212 majority, have not called for Santos to resign, though Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters on Wednesday that Santos would not be given a seat on any key committees.
‘SIMPLY TRAGIC AND OUTRAGEOUS’
Santos, who represents much of Nassau County, as well as a small slice of New York City, has admitted to fabricating much of his resume.
He won his November race over Democrat Robert Zimmerman by a margin of 7.5 percentage points.
But his victory was quickly overshadowed by media reports indicating that the persona he presented to voters was largely a work of fiction.
Among other claims, Santos said he had degrees from New York University and Baruch College, despite neither institution having any record of him attending. He claimed to have worked at Goldman Sachs and Citigroup, which was also untrue.
He also falsely said that he was Jewish and that his grandparents escaped the Nazis during World War Two.
“For him to make up this story that his parents were Holocaust survivors is beyond the pale. It is simply tragic and outrageous and disgusting,” Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman said. “He is a stain on the House of Representatives.”
During the news conference, officials said they would direct Santos’ constituents to Representative D’Esposito in some cases, who had agreed to help residents of Santos’ district.
Two House Democrats on Tuesday referred the matter to the House ethics committee this week. The local district attorney has said her office is investigating Santos.
If Santos were to resign, his district could make for a competitive special election.
He won his 2022 election with 52% of the vote to Democrat Zimmerman’s 45%, handing Republicans a seat formerly held by Democrat Thomas Suozzi.
The 2022 election took place with newly-drawn district boundaries. Had those lines been in place in the 2020 presidential election, Democratic President Joe Biden would have won the district by eight percentage points.
Under New York and federal law, the seat would be vacant until a special election is held, which would take roughly three months.
Copyright 2023 Thomson/Reuters