George Santos ‘disgraced’ House, should resign, GOP leaders in New York say
NEW YORK (AP) – Local Republican leaders in New York on Wednesday called for the immediate resignation of their new GOP congressman, George Santos, who is facing multiple investigations by prosecutors into his personal and campaign finances and lies about his resume and family heritage.
“His lies were not mere yarns. He embarrassed the House of Representatives,” Joseph Cairo Jr., chairman of the Nassau County Republican Committee, said at a news conference. “He is not welcome here at Republican headquarters.”
Santos, swarmed by reporters in the Capitol on Wednesday, categorically rejected calls to resign, saying: “I won’t.”
The call was an extraordinary rebuke of the first-year congressman, whose election months ago flipped a Democratic seat in the House of Representatives and was initially one of the GOP’s focal points of the November election. The denunciation by local Republicans also increases pressure on Republicans in Congress to impeach or remove Santos.
Rep. George Santos, RN.Y., is being recalled because of questions about his authenticity. (Source: CNN)
Cairo and other Republicans said Santos misled voters and the Nassau County Republican, and they were particularly outraged by his lies about his Jewish ancestry.
Rep. Anthony D’Esposito, another Republican newly elected to represent Long Island, spoke at the press conference via video from Washington and joined Cairo’s call for his colleague’s resignation.
“George Santos does not have the ability to serve here in the House of Representatives and should resign,” D’Esposito said.
The local party has no mechanism to remove Santos from office. He was sworn in to the US House last week.
The move comes a day after two New York Democrats asked the House Ethics Committee to investigate Santos. Representatives Ritchie Torres and Dan Goldman, in a letter to the committee, said Santos also failed to file “timely, accurate and complete” financial disclosure reports and the reports he did file are “infrequent and confusing.”
Earlier this week, the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission and asked regulators to investigate Santos. The “mountain of lies” that Santos propagated during the campaign about his life story and qualifications, the center said, should prompt the commission to “thoroughly investigate what appear to be equally brazen lies about how his campaign raised and spent money”.
His campaign finances have been called into question. (Source: CNN/SPECTRUM NEWS NY1/POOL/AP IMAGES/FOX NEWS/THE NEW YORK TIMES/WCBS/INSTAGRAM/SANTOS4_CONGRESS/GETTY IMAGES/)
Initially, the victory by Santos, the only openly gay Republican in Congress, was seen as one of his party’s bright spots in a midterm election. But as reports began to emerge that Santos had lied about his Jewish background, a career at top Wall Street firms and a college degree, he became a distraction and an embarrassment for the party after it took control of the House.
During his campaign, he called himself “a proud American Jew.” But he later retracted that claim, saying his mother’s family had “a Jewish background,” and he told the New York Post in an interview, “I said I was ‘Jewish.’
Bruce Blakeman, a Jewish Republican and elected Nassau County executive, said he and other members of the area’s sizable Jewish population take their religion and heritage seriously. He said it was “ridiculous” for Santos to call himself Jewish, but said it was “beyond the pale” and “outrageous” that Santos had said in an interview that his grandparents survived the Holocaust.
“He can no longer serve. He doesn’t deserve that right,” Blakeman said. “He’s a stain on the House.”
Blakeman said his office will have no interaction with Santos or his staff until he resigns, and that the county will redirect any Santos constituents seeking help to D’Esposito’s office in the neighboring congressional district.
“We don’t consider him one of our congressmen,” Cairo said.
Santos first ran for Congress in 2020, losing to Tom Suozzi, a Democrat. He ran again in 2022, facing Democrat Robert Zimmerman in a district that includes several suburbs of Long Island and a small part of Queens.
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