Metro Weekly

New York Republicans Demand George Santos Resign

Growing chorus of Republican voices demands freshman lawmaker step down due to his alleged falsehoods and fabrications.

U.S. Rep. George Santos – Photo: U.S. House of Representatives.

Several New York Republican officials added their names to the growing list of those demanding that Congressman George Santos (R-N.Y.) resign over false statements he made inflating his résumé and fabricating parts of his biography, including his work history and family background. 

On Wednesday, Nassau County Republican Party officials held a press conference denouncing Santos’s alleged falsifications and calling for Santos’s resignation. Party leaders also indicated the congressman will no longer be welcome at its headquarters, meetings, or sponsored events because he’s “disgraced” the office he holds.

“There’s no place in the Nassau County Republican Committee, nor should he serve in public service, nor as an elected official,” Chairman Joseph Cairo said at the press conference, noting in particular Santos’s previous claims to have been descended from Jews who fled persecution in Ukraine and, eventually, Belgium, just prior to World War II.

Cairo also asserted that the committee would no longer work with Santos, instead funneling future requests for federal help through the office of newly elected U.S. Rep. Anthony D’Esposito, a Long Island Republican who represents a neighboring district.

“George Santos’s campaign last year was a campaign of deceit, lies and fabrication,” Cairo said. “As I said, he’s disgraced the House of Representatives, and we do not consider him one of our congresspeople.”

At one point, Cairo claimed that Santos had bragged to him that he was a star on the volleyball team at Baruch College, despite previously admitting to The New York Post that he had never attended the college.

D’Esposito, who was present for the press conference, was brief in his assessment of his colleague, saying: “George Santos does not have the ability to serve here in the House of Representatives and should resign.”

An exposé by The New York Times last month revealed inconsistencies in Santos’s official biography, including since-disproven claims that he worked for Wall Street giants Citigroup and Goldman Sachs, that he attended Baruch College and graduated in the top 1% of his class, with a 3.89 grade-point average, that he had created an animal rescue charity — which had not been registered with the state, and allegedly never gave money it had raised to a local rescue organization — and even that he and his family were landlords who had been hurt by eviction freezes instituted by New York City officials at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Times story also revealed that Santos had previously been charged with check fraud in Brazil back in 2008. Brazilian authorities have since claimed they intend to reopen that case in the hope of prosecuting the congressman. 

Reporting by additional media outlets poked holes in claims that Santos had Jewish heritage or was descended from refugees fleeing the Holocaust, that his the death of his mother, who died in 2016, was attributable to 9/11, and that he was one of the first people to be diagnosed with COVID-19 in New York State. Part of that latter story revolves around a yet-unconfirmed claim that he had been diagnosed with a brain tumor a few years ago and had undergone radiation, thus weakening his immune system and making him more susceptible to viruses like COVID-19 — with Santos later claiming his “survival” was evidence that COVID-19 was no more severe than a seasonal flu.

Following the Nassau County Republican Committee’s press conference, GOP leaders in nearby Suffolk County released a statement backing up their fellow Republicans. 

“George Santos’ lies and deceit have caught up to him, and the public has had enough of Mr. Santos,” Jesse Garcia, the chairman of the Suffolk County Republican Committee, said in a statement. “He is not welcome in our Republican Party and it is time for him to resign from the House of Representatives.”

Three other New York Republican congressmen have called for Santos’s resignation, including fellow Long Island Congressman Nick LaLota, of Suffolk County; Syracuse-area Congressman Brandon Williams; and upstate Congressman Nick Langworthy. Two other New York Republicans — upstate Congressman Marc Molinaro and Hudson Valley Congressman Mike Lawler — have not formally called for his resignation but have expressed doubt about whether Santos can be effective in Congress, given his fabrications.

“What he’s done is disgraceful, dishonorable and unworthy of the office,” LaLota told Axios in a brief interview. “I think he should resign.” He added that Santos doesn’t seem to have shown any signs of remorse or attempted to correct any of his behavior. 

“I hear a lot of feedback from my fellow Long Islanders about us wanting to raise the standard or at least keep some standard among elected officials,” LaLota said. “Santos has fallen far below that standard, and that’s why I was the first to call for his investigation … and now I’m one of the few to call for his resignation.”

A seventh Republican congressman from New York, Andrew Garbarino — the fourth member of the Long Island delegation after LaLota, D’Esposito, and Santos — told Axios that he was unable to comment on Santos “because I’m on the Ethics investigation subcommittee.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who earned Santos’s support in his 15 different bids for speaker and holds a tenuous grip on control of his own party’s caucus, has declined to call for Santos’s resignation, saying that voters elected him to serve as their voice in Congress, and have the option, in the 2024 cycle, of choosing whether or not to re-elect Santos. McCarthy has said Santos will get at least one committee assignment, although it will not be on a top committee, according to NBC News

On Wednesday, Santos was defiant, tweeting: “I will NOT resign!” from his official Twitter account.

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 to deliver results to keep our community safe and lower the cost of living,” he tweeted.

On Thursday, he told NBC News that “if 142 people ask for me to resign, I will resign.”

He later clarified in an interview on Steve Bannon’s War Room with U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) that he was referring to the more than 142,000 people who cast their votes for him last November. Santos said he will remain in Congress “until those same 142,000 people tell me they don’t want me.”

Federal prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York and Anne Donnelly, the Republican district attorney for Nassau County, have launched two separate investigations looking into Santos’s finances and financial disclosures. The freshman congressman also faces a formal ethics complaint filed with the Federal Election Commission

Additionally, two New York Democrats, U.S. Reps. Dan Goldman and Ritchie Torres, have filed a complaint against Santos, calling for an ethics investigation into whether he violated federal law requiring lawmakers to file “timely, accurate and complete” financial disclosures.

“Mr. Santos’s financial financial disclosure reports in 2020 and 2022 are sparse and perplexing,” reads the complaint against Santos, which was obtained by Axios. “At a minimum, it is apparent that he did not file timely disclosure reports for his most recent campaign. Moreover, his own public statements have contradicted some information included in the 2022 financial disclosure and confirmed that the 2022 financial disclosure failed to disclose other required information.

“Given the revelations about his biography, as well as the public information pertaining to his financial disclosures, Mr. Santos has failed to uphold the integrity expected of members of the House of Representatives,” the complaint continues. “We therefore respectfully request that you investigate this matter to determine the extent of these violations and take appropriate action as soon as possible.”

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