Outgoing Congressman Tom Suozzi had harsh words for his successor, Rep-elect George Santos, in an op-ed published on Tuesday coinciding with Mr Santos’s swearing-in ceremony.
Mr Santos is set to take his seat on Tuesday despite admitting to largely making up his background while running for Congress. He has admitted to lies about his work history, education, religious background and more.
Federal and local authorities are now thought to be looking in to his wide array of very public falsehoods.
Writing in The New York Times, Mr Suozzi ripped the embattled Republican congressman-elect as a “con man”.
“I’ve lost track of how many evasions and lies Mr. Santos has told about himself, his finances and his history and relationship with our stretch of Long Island and northeastern Queens,” wrote Mr Suozzi. “When he is seated, it will diminish our Congress, our country and my constituents — soon his constituents. It saddens me that after 30 years of public service rooted in hard work and service to the people of this area, I’m being succeeded by a con man.”
The impact of Mr Santos’s many scandals was evident on Tuesday as he sat alone on the House floor during the election of the speaker, while other members and members-elect were seen chatting with each other.
Mr Suozzi declined to run for reelection in 2022, putting his energy instead behind a dissapointing bid for governor that ended with the incumbent, Democrat Kathy Hochul, being reelected.
Mr Santos instead defeated his opponent, Robert Zimmerman, by nearly double digits. New York Democrats, including state party leaders in particular, have faced criticism in recent weeks for not uncovering his many lies via opposition research (as well as running ads highlighting them) during the campaign season.
The outgoing Democratic congressman concluded his op-ed by calling for Mr Santos to be expelled from Congress or criminally charged by state or federal prosecutors.
“If we are going to subdue the tyranny of unchecked liars and their lies, then Mr. Santos must be held accountable: He must be removed by Congress or by prosecutors, because there is no indication that he will be moved by conscience to voluntarily resign,” wrote Mr Suozzi.
Mr Santos has repeatedy said that he will not resign, despite the weight of his many scandals, and has vowed to serve the third district of New York in Congress for at least a two-year term.