Calling GOP Rep. George Santos a joke, a disgrace, abnormal and a pathological liar, local Republican officials in New York state on Wednesday said the newly elected congressman needed to immediately resign, saying he ran a campaign of “deceit and lies.”
But Santos has refused, doubling down on his intent to stay in Congress at the same time as his fellow Republicans in Long Island have urged him to step down.
“George Santos’ campaign last year was a campaign of deceit, lies and fabrication,” Nassau County Republican Party Chairman Joseph Cairo said at a press conference.
“He deceived the voters of the 3rd Congressional District, he deceived members of the Nassau County Republican committee, elected officials, his colleagues, candidates, his opponents and even some of the media,” Cairo said. “He’s disgraced the House of Representatives and we do not consider him one of our congresspeople.”
Cairo’s searing remarks were the first in a parade of more than a dozen Republican officials from Santos’ area, each of whom excoriated his lies and urged him to step down.
“He’s a national joke, he’s an international joke, but this joke’s gotta go,” said Town of Hempstead Supervisor Don Clavin.
Other speakers called him a “stain” on the party who has acted like a “pathological liar.”
As his state allies abandoned him, Santos sounded defiant in Washington, D.C.
“I will not,” he said when bombarded by reporters on Capitol Hill asking if he will resign.
The latest blow to Santos came as the embattled freshman congressman, who was sworn into office early Saturday morning, has admitted making up key elements of his personal life, and is now under scrutiny by federal and local lawmakers.
Nassau County Republican Party chairman Joseph Cairo and members of the Nassau County Republican Committee hold a news conference regarding the future of U.S. Representative George Santos (R-NY) at Nassau County Republican Committee in Westbury, New York, U.S. January 11, 2023.
Andrew Kelly | Reuters
Santos has been caught embellishing and, at times, outright lying, about his past, including his claims that he worked on Wall Street.
Santos has apologized to anyone “disappointed by resume embellishments,” but he vehemently denies committing any crimes.
Cairo has previously said that Santos has “broken the public trust by making serious misstatements regarding his background, experience and education, among other issues.” As a member of Congress, Santos represents parts of Queens and Nassau County, a region of Long Island in New York. House Republican leadership have been quiet regarding Santos since he’s been sworn into Congress.
“Obviously, he’s addressed some of the concerns that we’ve had. In New York, they’re having a lot of internal conversations too. But at the end of the day, you know, he was seated, nobody objected to him being seated,” House Republican Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., told CNBC on Wednesday after being asked whether Santos will serve his full two-year term.
Santos has said that all he’s guilty of is embellishing his resume and has committed no crimes.
The lies and embellishments he told during the election have also led to scrutiny from prosecutors in the Eastern District of New York who are examining Santos’ finances, including potential irregularities involving financial disclosures and an over $700,000 loan Santos made to his campaign while he was running for Congress during the 2022 midterms, according to NBC News.
The Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan campaign finance watchdog, filed an ethics complaint with the Federal Election Commission against Santos on Monday for allegedly violating campaign finance laws. Santos told reporters that he’s done nothing unethical.
Santos’ fundraising efforts during his successful 2022 run was also based, in part, on some of the false claims he’s made about his past. He would suggest to donors that he was Jewish when he was not and falsely told people he worked at Wall Street banks that don’t have any record of his employment. A Santos campaign staffer impersonated as Kevin McCarthy’s chief of staff in order to raise money for the campaign, CNBC and The Washington Times reported.