Democrats are calling for Rep.-elect George Santos (R-N.Y.) to resign his newly won Long Island House seat after the incoming lawmaker admitted to lying about about his professional and educational background.
“GOP Congressman-elect George Santos, who has now admitted his whopping lies, should resign. If he does not, then @GOPLeader should call for a vote to expel @Santos4Congress,” Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), the incoming vice chair of the House Democratic caucus, said on Twitter.
Santos admitted in a New York Post interview released Monday to having fabricated details about his resume, including making misleading claims about working for Goldman Sachs and Citigroup and falsely claiming to have earned a college degree from New York’s Baruch College.
Santos said this week he “never worked directly” with either firm and did not graduate from Baruch nor “any institution of higher learning.” He declared in a separate interview that he’s “not a criminal” and has “done so much good work” in his career.
Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) argued that allowing Santos to enter office, as he is slated to do next week, would set a dangerous precedent and prompt others to campaign for office while promoting false details about their own background.
“We’ve seen people fudge their resume but this is total fabrication,” Castro said on Twitter, suggesting the New York Republican “should also be investigated by authorities.”
Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) said Santos “confessed to defrauding the voters of Long Island about his ENTIRE resume” and called for him not to be seated when new lawmakers are sworn in next week.
Santos flipped a House seat for the GOP in November to represent parts of Long Island and Queens, helping the party capture a narrow majority in the lower chamber.
Democrats have latched onto scrutiny of the newly elected Republican, with incoming House Democratic leader Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (N.Y.) saying last week that Santos “appears to be a complete and utter fraud — his whole life story made up.”
“I’m embarrassed and sorry for having embellished my resume,” Santos said in the interview with the Post. “I own up to that … We do stupid things in life.”
Santos’s admission on Monday broke days of silence after a New York Times report drew attention to apparent inconsistencies in his professional profile, with interviews casting doubt on various aspects of his official campaign biography.
Among the questions raised about Santos’s background were those centered on his past claims of Jewish heritage and his campaign’s telling of his maternal grandparents fleeing Jewish persecution in Europe during World War II.
“Because I learned my maternal family had a Jewish background I said I was ‘Jew-ish,’” Santos told the Post, adding he identifies religiously as Catholic.
“He didn’t graduate college, didn’t work on Wall Street, and isn’t Jewish — all of which he asserted in order to dupe the voters in Queens and Nassau. Santos is not fit to be a member of Congress. He must resign,” New York Rep.-elect Dan Goldman (D) tweeted.
Another New York Democrat, Rep. Ritchie Torres, urged the House Ethics Committee to probe the Republican’s fundraising on the campaign trail, saying the “complete fabrication” of his background could signal other issues.
“George Santos admits his life story is a complete fabrication. His pitiful confession should not distract us from concerns about possible criminality and corruption. The Ethics Committee MUST investigate how he made his money. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire,” Ritchie said.