State and local New York GOP leaders called on U.S. Rep. George Santos to “immediately” resign Wednesday after the newly sworn-in Republican lied about his background to win his congressional seat.
“He’s disgraced the House of Representatives, and we do not consider him one of our congresspeople,” Nassau County party chair Joseph Cairo said in an announcement. “Today on behalf of the Nassau County Republican committee, I am calling for his immediate resignation.”
Rep. Anthony D’Esposito, a Republican who represents a district just south of the one Santos won, joined in, saying he “will not associate with him in Congress and I will encourage other representatives in the House of Representatives to join me in rejecting him.”
D’Esposito continued his criticism in a written statement, saying Santos’ “many hurtful lies and mistruths surrounding his history have irreparably broken the trust of residents he is sworn to serve.”
Shortly after, the New York State Conservative Party said it joined the county leaders in calling for Santos to resign.
“Mr. Santos’s profound use of mistruths as a candidate morally disqualifies him from serving in public office and exposes him to potential legal action, seriously compromising his ability to represent his constituents,” party chairman Gerard Kassar said in a statement, adding that he hopes Santos “will choose the redemptive path going forward.”
New York GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy also released a statement supporting Nassau County Republicans’ request for Santos to resign, saying it would be “in the best interest of the taxpayers to have new leadership.”
The county party endorsed Santos in the November election. But since winning the House race, Santos has admitted to fabricating several significant details about his background, including his education history, work experience and personal narrative. Election officials are currently investigating his campaign contributions and donors.
In their announcement, county Republicans said Santos “deceived” voters and that they do not consider him a member of Congress for their district, adding that he is not welcome at the GOP headquarters or events.
When confronted by reporters after Wednesday’s announcement, Santos stated that he will not resign.
After The New York Times reported that it couldn’t confirm several of Santo’s claims about his background, the freshman congressman confessed last month that he was guilty of “embellishing” his resume.
But the Times and other media outlets found that Santos’ claims went beyond the scope of mere embellishment. Investigations have found evidence that he lied about graduating from college, running a real estate empire, being a Wall Street big shot, overseeing a charity that rescued thousands of dogs and being a biracial descendent of Ukrainian Jews whose grandparents survived the Holocaust. Reports also found he appears to have lied about his mother dying as a result of the Sept. 11 attacks and four of his employees dying in 2016’s Pulse nightclub shooting.
Those revelations triggered some watchdogs to prod Santos’ campaign finances. On Monday, the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission raising several red flags in Santos’ campaign finance records, including evidence he may have used his 2022 campaign funds to cover personal needs, lied about how his campaign spent money and concealed the origin of his campaign funds.
Wednesday’s resignation demands follow ones Democrats have made for weeks, with some saying the House speaker should call for a vote to expel him if he won’t go willingly.
Texas Rep. Kevin Brady, a veteran GOP lawmaker who retired earlier this month, was among the first Republicans who suggested Santos should resign.
“This is troubling in so many ways. Certainly, he’s lied repeatedly,” Brady said on Fox News during one of his final days in office. “He certainly is going to have to consider resigning.”