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Home-county Republicans urge Santos to resign New York seat

Freshman sworn in Saturday says he is not going anywhere

George Santos, left, and Kevin McCarthy on the House floor on Jan. 4. McCarthy, now the speaker, reportedly said Wednesday that Santos would not be seated on any top committees.
George Santos, left, and Kevin McCarthy on the House floor on Jan. 4. McCarthy, now the speaker, reportedly said Wednesday that Santos would not be seated on any top committees. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Freshman Rep. Anthony D’Esposito joined other New York Republicans on Wednesday in calling on fellow Rep. George Santos to resign. Santos said he would remain in office.

“I join with you and I join with my colleagues in saying that George Santos does not have the ability to serve here in the House of Representatives and should resign,” D’Esposito, who flipped a House seat in November, said at a news conference. 

D’Esposito said in a statement that “Santos’ many hurtful lies and mistruths surrounding his history have irreparably broken the trust of the residents he is sworn to serve.” 

Santos has come under sharp scrutiny for lying about his personal biography and faces criminal investigations in New York, according to published reports. An ethics group this week also asked the Federal Election Commission to look at his campaign spending disclosures, which the group said were “routinely falsified.” Two House Democrats, meanwhile, called on the ethics committee — which has the power to recommend a member’s expulsion — to look at questionable disclosures Santos made about his personal finances. 

But days after being sworn in, Santos said he was not going anywhere.

“I will not,” Santos said on Capitol Hill when asked if he would resign, before adding in a Tweet that he regretted “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.” 

Still, the calls from several Republican officials in his district show the difficulty that Santos could have as a member of Congress. Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman said he wouldn’t work with Santos’ office, saying that D’Esposito had agreed to help with constituent concerns and noting that Rep. Andrew Garbarino also represents part of the county. 

“I just don’t see any way that I, or my colleagues, can deal with someone who is, you know, appearing to be a pathological liar,” Blakeman said. 

Nassau County GOP Chair Joe Cairo said at the news conference that Santos claimed he was a star on a Baruch College volleyball team that won a league championship. Santos has recently acknowledged he did not graduate from  college. 

If Santos did resign, it would spark a competitive special election for New York’s 3rd District, which Santos flipped last year. The seat was previously held by former Rep. Tom Suozzi, who unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for governor last year. 

His resignation would also shrink an already tight Republican majority that’s grappling with how to handle Santos. 

‘Expedited review’

Pennsylvania GOP Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick said on MSNBC on Wednesday that he did not think Santos should be in Congress.

“I don’t think he should be here, that’s for sure, but there’s a process in place that has to apply equally to all members from both parties and both chambers, and that’s the House Ethics Committee,” Fitzpatrick said. “To the extent that there’s concerns about how long that will take, we should just have an expedited review.”

Speaker Kevin McCarthy reportedly said on Wednesday that Santos would not be seated on any top committees, although it is usually uncommon for first-term members to earn one of those spots. As of midday Wednesday, McCarthy had not named a chairman for the ethics committee.

House Majority Leader Steve Scalise said Tuesday that the matter was being handled internally.

“Obviously, there were concerns about what we had heard,” Scalise said at a press conference. “And so we’re going to have to sit down and talk to him about it, and that’s something that we’re going to deal with just like there’s a lot of other things we’re going to deal with.”

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