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‘Disgusted’ with Santos, GOP officials say new congressman must resign

George Santos has just been sworn in to represent parts of Long Island and Queens, New York, but the Nassau County executive said his office won't interact with the new congressman whose history as a serial fabulist precedes him.

LONG ISLAND (CN) — Long Island Republicans called Wednesday for the resignation of their new congressman, saying Representative George Santos is unfit to lead the Third Congressional District or even to represent the party given the flagrant extent to which he lied about his educational, employment and personal background.

The 34-year-old Santos officially joined the 118th U.S. Congress on Saturday but already faces state and federal fraud investigations.

“George Santos’ campaign last year was a campaign of deceit, lies and fabrication,” Nassau County Republican Chairman Joseph Cairo said at a press conference, joined by a panel of other local leaders who all expressed feelings of disgust and betrayal regarding the freshman congressman.

Santos so far has admitted to lying about graduated from Baruch College in New York, as well as about having worked at Citigroup and Goldman Sachs. He also faked his ancestral and religious background, including claiming to be both Jewish and Catholic, and saying that the September 11, 2001, attacks claimed his mother’s life when she in fact passed away in 2016.

“His lies were not mere fibs. They disgraced the House of Representatives, and in particular, his fabrications went too far. Many groups were hurt, specifically I look at those families that were touched by the horrors of the Holocaust and feel for them,” Cairo said. 

“He has no place in the Nassau County Republican Committee, nor should he serve in public service, nor as an elected official. He’s not welcome here at Republican headquarters for meetings or at any of our events.” 

Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman announced that his staff will direct any “federal constituent calls” to Representative Anthony D’Esposito, who represents the central and southern Nassau in the neighboring Fourth Congressional District. Santos represents the north part of the county as well as northeastern Queens. 

“My office will have no interaction with George Santos or his staff until he resigns,” Blakeman said. 

Weeks of reports that mounted evidence of Santos’ fabrications came to a head on Monday when the congressman was hit with campaign fraud claims, signaling legal troubles are coming to a head. A government watchdog group accused Santos of hiding the source of more than $700,000 in campaign funds, misrepresenting spending with dozens of $199.99 charges — exactly 1 cent below a $200 reporting threshold — and using his campaign fund to pay his rent. 

Nassau County District Attorney Anne Donnelly announced last month that her office would be investigating Santos, and he is reportedly the subject of a federal criminal investigation in the Eastern District of New York. 

In the last several weeks, Santos has played down the lies about his employment history as a “poor choice of words." He also jokingly referred to himself as “Jew-ish,” despite previously calling himself an “American Jew” and falsely claiming that his grandparents survived the Holocaust. 

“He has betrayed the public’s trust and given insincere, glib and insulting answers when asked legitimate questions about his finances and his background. By all accounts he seems incapable and unwilling to take full responsibility for his lies and fabrications,” said Jennifer DeSena, supervisor of the Town of North Hempstead. DeSena said she was “offended and disgusted at his deceit.”  

Town of Hempstead Supervisor Don Clavin pointed out that scorn for Santos is, at least, a matter that finds common ground. 

“You know what? He’s unified the country in their opposition to him. He’s a national joke, he’s an international joke,” Clavin said. “But this joke has got to go. Not tomorrow, not next week, today.”

Santos has said he won't resign but does not plan to run for reelection. His removal would prompt a special election for his seat, potentially diminishing the Republican Party's already narrow majority in the House.

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