WASHINGTON, Jan 11 (Reuters) – U.S. Representative George Santos said he has no plans to heed calls from fellow New York Republicans to resign, a plea they made on Wednesday amid what they called “lie after lie” about him. Career and History.
Kevin McCarthy, the top Republican in the House of Representatives, said he had no intention of pressuring Santos, part of his narrow 222-212 majority, despite public pleas from more than a dozen Republicans from Santos’ suburban New York City district.
The New York Republicans made their plea at a news conference two days after a nonpartisan watchdog accused Santos of violating campaign finance laws in a filing with the Federal Election Commission.
“It’s lie after lie. It’s become a pattern,” said Joseph Cairo Jr., chairman of the party in Nassau County.
Rep. Nick Longworthy, a Republican from western New York, and Rep. Anthony D’Esposito, who represents a district next to Santos’s, are among those calling for the first-term congressman to step down.
“I join my colleagues in saying that Jorge Santos is unfit to serve here in the House of Representatives and that he should resign,” he said.
Santos rejected those calls in comments to reporters at the Capitol and detailed his plans on Twitter.
“I was elected to serve the people of #NY03, not the party and politicians, and I’m committed to doing that, and I’m sorry to hear that local officials refuse to work in my office,” he wrote, referring to the congressional district he represents.
McCarthy told reporters Wednesday that voters should choose who represents them, not lawmakers.
“In America today, you’re innocent until proven guilty,” he said.
‘Simply sad and overwhelming’
Santos, who represents most of Nassau County and a small part of New York City, has admitted to fabricating much of his profile.
He beat Democrat Robert Zimmerman in his November race by 7.5 percentage points.
But his victory was quickly overshadowed by media reports that the persona he presented to voters was largely a work of fiction.
Among other claims, Santos said he graduated from New York University and Baruch College, although there is no record of his attendance at either institution. He claimed to have worked at Goldman Sachs and Citigroup, which was also untrue.
He lied that he was Jewish and that his grandparents had escaped the Nazis during World War II.
“To create this story that his parents were Holocaust survivors is beyond the pale. It’s just sad and outrageous and disgusting,” Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman said. “He’s a stain on the House of Representatives.”
During the news conference, officials said they would send Santos’ constituents on some occasions to Rep. D’Esposito, who agreed to help residents of Santos’ district.
Two House Democrats on Tuesday referred the matter to the House Ethics Committee this week. The local district attorney said his office is investigating Santos.
If Santos resigns, his district could create a contested special election.
He received 52% of the vote to Democrat Zimmerman’s 45% in his 2022 election, giving Republicans the seat previously held by Democrat Thomas Suozzi.
The 2022 election took place with newly drawn district boundaries. If those lines had held in the 2020 presidential election, Democratic Party leader Joe Biden would have won the district by eight percentage points.
Under New York and federal law, the seat remains vacant until a special election is held, which is approximately three months.
Reporting by Gram Slattery and Moira Warburton, additional reporting by Jason Lange and Doina Chiaku; Editing by Scott Malone, Mark Porter and Aurora Ellis
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