GOP Rep.-elect George Santos House is facing mounting condemnation from House Democrats, some of whom have called for him to step aside, and even from some corners of the GOP, who have called for at least one of his fellow incoming Republicans to face an ethics investigation. House GOP leadership, however, has remained silent Expressions The New York Republican lied about parts of his biography.
Santos admitted to fabricating parts of his resume — including his past work experience and education — and apologized, but said he wanted to serve in Congress.
Democratic Reps. Joaquin Castro of Texas and Ted Lieu of California are among those who have called on Santos — who has given interviews in which the congressman-elect admitted to “embellishing” his application — that the House should expel him if he refuses to resign.
Castro called for Santos to be investigated by officials and argued that New York Republicans falsified his application and would be allowed to serve in Congress, saying, “Those who seek office up and down the polls will hope that they can completely produce their credentials. , personal characteristics and achievements to win the position.”
Democratic Rep. Don Goldman of New York, a former federal prosecutor, called Santos a “total fraud.” He criticized House Republicans, saying, “Congress also has an obligation to hold Jorge Santos accountable, but it is unfortunately clear that we cannot trust House Republicans to open an investigation in the House Ethics Committee.”
At least one incoming member of the GOP convention called for Santos to be investigated by the House Ethics Committee — an investigative body split evenly between Republicans and Democrats but with limited powers to trigger repercussions.
“As a Navy veteran who campaigned on restoring accountability and integrity to our government, I believe that a full investigation by the House Ethics Committee and, if necessary, law enforcement is warranted,” GOP Rep.-elect Nick LaLotta said in a statement. It represents the strongest condemnation ever seen from a Republican serving in or entering Congress.
“New Yorkers deserve the truth and House Republicans deserve a chance to govern without this distraction,” LaLotta added.
Another GOP lawmaker from New York, Rep.-elect Anthony D’Esposito, condemned Santos’ false statements and called on him to “pursue the path of honesty,” though he stopped short of calling for an investigation.
“Neighbors across Long Island are deeply hurt and rightly offended by the lies and misrepresentations made by Congressman-elect George Santos,” he said in a statement. “While Santos has taken the necessary first step by ‘coming clean’ regarding his education, work experience and other issues, he must continue on an honest path.”
The House Republican leadership is unlikely to rule out seating Santos, who is scheduled to be sworn in next Tuesday with the rest of the new members of Congress. The House has the power under the Constitution to expel any member with a two-thirds vote, but doing so is extremely rare and only five lawmakers have been expelled in US history.
Other than a referral to the House Ethics Committee, the only other possible option for dealing with Santos, which does not give him any committee assignments, would lie with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
In the past, the California Republican Party has shown little interest in punishing its own members for bad behavior — especially when it comes to actions before they even serve as members of Congress. McCarthy declined to weigh in while members are on trial, arguing that they would let the probe play out before deciding how to proceed.
“This will not prevent me from being an effective member of the United States Congress in the 118th session,” Santos told City & State in an interview published Monday night.
McCarthy’s office and the National Republican Congressional Committee did not respond to CNN’s request for comment Monday evening.
However, Republican condemnation has come from outside Congress.
Nassau County Republican Committee Chairman Joseph G. Cairo, Jr., said Tuesday that Santos had “broken the public’s trust” and had “a lot of work to do to regain the trust of the voters.”
“I am deeply disappointed in Mr. Santos, and I expected more than a blanket apology,” Cairo said in a statement. “The damage his lies have done to so many, especially the victims of the Holocaust, is profound.”
CNN’s KFile reports that Santos’ claims that his grandparents “survived the Holocaust” because Ukrainian Jewish refugees from Belgium changed their surnames are contradicted by family trees compiled by genealogy websites, records of Jewish refugees and interviews with several genealogists.
“I never said I was Jewish,” Santos told the New York Post on Monday. “I’m Catholic. I said ‘Jewish’ because I know my maternal family has a Jewish background.
But Santos described himself as a “proud American Jew” in a document shared with Jewish groups during the campaign, which was first reported Forward And confirmed by CNN.
The Republican Jewish Coalition said Tuesday that the incoming congressman “has misrepresented his heritage” and “will not be welcome at a future RJC event.”
“We are extremely disappointed in Congressman-elect Santos,” RJC CEO Matt Brooks said in a statement. He deceived us and misrepresented his heritage. He had previously claimed to be Jewish, both in public and to us in private. He has started his tenure in Congress on a very false note.
Santos admitted Monday that he never graduated from any college or university, despite previously saying he graduated from Baruch College and New York University.
He also acknowledged that he did not work directly for financial firms Citigroup and Goldman Sachs, as he had previously suggested, but said he did work for them through his firm, a “bad pun” he told the New York Post. It must be said that he worked for them.
The New York Times first revealed last week that Santos’ biography was partly fictional. CNN confirmed details of the report, including his college education and employment history.