Two New York Republicans who won election to the House of Representatives in November have condemned their fellow Rep.-elect George Santos, R-N.Y., after Santos admitted to lying about his work and employment history.
Congressmen-elect Nick LaLota and Anthony D’Esposito issued statements Tuesday calling on Santos to be transparent with voters and undergo an ethics investigation, or potentially criminal probes, for fabricating details of his biography on the campaign trail.
“As a Navy man who campaigned on restoring accountability and integrity to our government, I believe a full investigation by the House Ethics Committee and, if necessary, law enforcement, is required,” LaLota said. “New Yorkers deserve the truth and House Republicans deserve an opportunity to govern without this distraction.”
“Neighbors across Long Island are deeply hurt and rightfully offended by the lies and misstatements made by Congressman-elect George Santos,” D’Esposito said.
“While Santos has taken a required first step by ‘coming clean’ with respect to his education, work experience, and other issues, he must continue to pursue a path of honesty. I have long held that elected officials must operate in a transparent and truthful manner – it is time for Mr. Santos to embrace that same spirit of sincerity,” he added.
Santos, a Long Island Republican, flipped New York’s 3rd Congressional District for Republicans in November after winning voters over with his inspirational background story – representing himself as an openly gay Jewish son of Brazilian immigrants. But he falsely claimed to have graduated from Baruch College with degrees in finance and worked for Goldman Sachs and Citibank.
After an investigation by the New York Times revealed major portions of his biography were fictional, his purported employers confirmed to Fox News that Santos never worked for them, and Baruch College said he never attended there.
In an interview with the New York Post on Monday, Santos confessed to embellishing his resume and lying about graduating from college.
“I am not a criminal,” he said. “I’m embarrassed, and sorry for having embellished my résumé.”
The embattled politician also denied that he ever claimed to be Jewish, telling the Post that he is a “Catholic” but his maternal family had a Jewish background, which made him “Jew-ish.” He made this claim despite telling pro-Israel groups he was a “proud American Jew” while campaigning for Congress, the Forward reported. He also falsely claimed to have Jewish grandparents who fled persecution in Ukraine and then Belgium during World War II.
House Democrats seized on the controversy, demanding that Santos resign or be expelled from the next Congress by Republican leadership. Santos’ defeated opponent, Robert Zimmerman, called on Santos to step down and face him again in a special election.
Meanwhile, a Republican district attorney in Nassau County, New York, on Wednesday opened a probe to investigate whether Santos committed any crimes by his misrepresentations.