Protesters gather in Queens for a second rally against Rep. George Santos
Several dozen protesters gathered Saturday morning in front of the district office of Rep. George Santos in Douglaston, Queens – the second such protest this week, after a smaller rally on Thursday.
The space is empty and the lights are off. The name of Santos’ predecessor, Tom Suozzi, is still on the windows and on the canopy. There is no sign that Santos has moved on, but there have been many calls for the embattled politician to move on. Some protesters demanded an investigation, while others called for Santos to step down immediately.
The crowd, drawn by special interest groups Courage for America and Unrig Our Economy, chanted slogans and heard speeches from community leaders and activists, including Assemblyman Ed Braunstein (D-Queens).
“When George Santos was elected, at first, I had every intention of trying to work with him,” Braunstein told the packed rally. “I told him, we are from different parties, but let’s work together for the common good of our voters. But that was before we found out he was a pathological liar. That was before it became a national laughingstock. Right now, there’s no way I’m going to work with this guy.”
Santos, who represents a small portion of Queens and parts of Long Island, has faced an onslaught of criticism after lies he told on the campaign trail about his life and personal resume were exposed by the media over the weeks, even the last few months.
Among the congressman’s disgruntled constituents at the rally was Great Neck resident Jeff Blye, who says one of Santos’ false claims bothered him more than the others.
“My parents are Holocaust survivors,” Blye said, “so his story about being Jewish, and then ‘Jew-dash-ish,’ is completely and utterly offensive to me beyond embellishing the resume.
The rally also drew participants from beyond the Santos district. According to Adrianne Davis, who lives in Suffolk County, the problem the new congressman poses is bigger than borders and maps.
“This is a national issue,” Davis said. “This is a national crisis. And that’s why I’m here.”
The backlash Santos is facing is set against a chaotic and drawn-out process among House Republicans to choose a speaker. Rep. Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from California, won in the early hours of Saturday after being elected speaker in the 15th round of voting.
Santos has said he intends to serve out his full term in Congress, despite mounting pressure for him to step down. Officially, there is little politicians or voters can do to prevent it unless Democrats and a large number of Republicans work together to drive it out.