Republican officials on Long Island held a press conference Wednesday to call formally upon the embattled Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., to resign amid the firestorm over his admitted fabrications about key elements of his life story.
“His campaign last year was a campaign of deceit, lies and fabrication,” Nassau County Republican Committee Chairman Joseph Cairo told reporters. “His lies were not mere fibs.
“He's disgraced the House of Representatives and we do not consider him one of our congresspeople,” Cairo continued. “Today, on behalf of the Nassau County Republican Committee, I am calling for his immediate resignation.”
The New York Times published a report last month suggesting that Santos lied to voters about his college graduation, his criminal and employment history, his family-owned business, his animal rescue charity and his relationship with four victims of the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Fla. The Forward, a New York City-based Jewish publication, subsequently published a report suggesting that he had misled voters about having Jewish ancestry.
“The lies George Santos told are too numerous to count,” Supervisor Jen DeSena of North Hempstead, N.Y., said. “He lied to me personally when he sought my endorsement, and while I'm offended and disgusted at his deceit, my true concern is for the residents of the Third Congressional District.
“He has betrayed the public's trust and given insincere, glib and insulting answers when asked legitimate questions about his finances and his background,” DeSena continued. “By all accounts, he seems incapable and unwilling to take full responsibility for his lies and fabrications.
“There's absolutely no way Mr. Santos can be an effective member of Congress and represent the people who elected him. The longer he remains in office, the longer the residents of the Third Congressional District will suffer,” she added, before addressing the congressman directly. “Mr. Santos, haven't you done enough harm?”
Before the event started, the Doobie Brothers’ 1979 hit "What a Fool Believes" was played over the loudspeakers.
Since arriving on Capitol Hill last week, Santos has repeatedly dodged questions from congressional reporters about the controversy.
"I was elected to serve the people of #NY03 not the party & politicians," Santos tweeted on Wednesday afternoon. "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. I will NOT resign!"
On Tuesday, Reps. Dan Goldman, D-N.Y., and Ritchie Torres, D-N.Y., filed a complaint with the House Ethics Committee against Santos, saying the disgraced freshman lawmaker had committed a crime and should be removed from Congress. Goldman and Torres also delivered a copy of the complaint to Santos’s congressional office.
“We see the House Republican Conference refilling the swamp with the fraudulence of George Santos, eviscerating the Office of Congressional Ethics at a time when George Santos has entered Congress with an ethical cloud hanging over him,” Torres said on Tuesday.
But at a press conference with GOP leadership Tuesday, House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., described Santos's future as "something that's being handled internally."
And House Speaker Kevin McCarthy told NBC News on Wednesday about Santos that "the voters elected him to serve" and that the congressman would be given committee assignments despite the ongoing scandal.
Meanwhile, Santos is facing multiple criminal investigations in the U.S. and in Brazil, where he was charged with and reportedly confessed to stealing the checkbook of a man his mother was caring for to make fraudulent purchases.