Bedlam Swirls Around Congressman George Santos

Image Courtesy of Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

By Nicholas Barry

Two months after George Santos was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives for New York’s 3rd Congressional District (CD), many of the people who endorsed his candidacy have called for his resignation.

Joseph Cairo, Chairman, Nassau County Republican Committee, and GOP elected officials from the 3rd CD held a press conference on Jan. 11, 2023, to state that they believe Rep. Santos should step down from office immediately. The press conference came weeks after The New York Times (The Times) revealed in a front-page story on Dec. 19, 2022, that the resume Santos touted during his successful political campaign last year was largely a work of fiction. Some of the claims that were found to be false included his employment history at Goldman Sachs and CitiGroup, as well as his educational background. Neither Baruch College nor New York University told The Times they had records of Santos being a student there, even though Santos said he’d received degrees from both institutions.

At the press conference, Cairo said Rep. Santos had “deceived the voters of the third Congressional District. He deceived the members of the Nassau County Republican Committee, elected officials, his colleagues, candidates, his opponents, and even some of the media.

“Today, on behalf of the Nassau County Republican Committee, I am calling for his immediate resignation,” Cairo stated.

New York’s 3rd CD covers much of northern Nassau County and portions of eastern Queens County, with most of it falling in Nassau County, Long Island. Rep. Santos was elected to succeed retiring Rep. Thomas Suozzi, a Democrat who had held the seat since 2017.

Santos has largely remained silent when confronted by the media while he leaves his office in Longworth House Office Building. Congressman Santos has remained consistent in his message that he will not step down. 

Santos posted the following statement on his twitter shortly after the press conference, stating, “I was elected to serve the people the people of #NY03 not the party & politicians, 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.” He continued, “I will NOT resign!”

Rep. Santos pushed back on the calls for his resignation by appearing on Steve Bannon’s podcast on Jan. 12 with Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.). “So you know, I wish well, all of their opinions, but I was elected by 142,000 people until those same 142,000 people tell me they don’t want me. We’ll find out in two years,” Santos added. “Look, I’ve worked my entire life. I’ve lived an honest life. I’ve never been accused, sued of anything bad doing.”There is a petition circulating on MoveOn calling for Santos to resign from Congress. It has received over 53,000 signatures as of Jan. 15, 2023. Santos has informed the Nassau GOP he will not seek reelection in 2024.

Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has even been questioned by the media about Rep. Santos.  

“He’s got a long way to go to earn trust. But the one I thing I do know is you apply the Constitution equal to all Americans,” McCarthy said.

Speaker McCarthy added, “The voters of his district have elected him. He is seated. He is part of the Republican conference. There are concerns or whatever so he will go before ethics. If anything is found to be wrong, he will be held accountable exactly as anybody else in this body would be.”

Protestors have gathered daily outside Rep. Santos’s District Office in Douglaston, NY (Queens County), calling for his resignation. Constituents in the state’s 3rd CD are having a difficult time reaching Rep. Santos’s staff, according to Rep. Andrew Garbarino (R-NY), who represents New York’s 2nd Congressional District on the South Shore of Long Island. 

“My office is handling a lot of requests from constituents, they are calling us because they haven’t been able to get in touch with his office,” Rep. Garbarino said.

Rep. Santos is currently under investigation by the District Attorneys in Nassau County (Anne Donnelly) and in Queens County (Melinda Katz). Furthermore, Rep. Santos is also being investigated by the federal authorities in the U.S. Eastern District of New York based out of Brooklyn, NY.  Besides his resume, they are looking into the way he financed his campaign, and how his campaign spent the money it received from contributors.

Rep. Santos (R-NY) represents more than 700,000 residents in New York’s Nassau and Queens counties, according to Ballotpedia.org. He defeated Bob Zimmerman, the Democratic nominee,  54% to 45%, on Nov. 8, 2022.

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