January 28, 2023

U.S. Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) waits for the start of a session in the House chamber on Jan. 6.

Alex Brandon/AP


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Alex Brandon/AP


U.S. Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) waits for the start of a session in the House chamber on Jan. 6.

Alex Brandon/AP

Republican leaders from Long Island condemned Rep. George Santos (R-NY 3) Wednesday as a “pathological liar” and demanded he give up the House seat he won in November.

Santos, a political newcomer, lied about much of his personal and professional biography, making false claims about his Jewish heritage and inventing a story about his family escaping the Holocaust ahead of World War II.

“He’s basically confessed. He needs help,” Bruce Blakeman, a Republican who serves as Nassau County’s top administrator, said at an emotional news conference. “He’s not a normal person. He needs to stop deluding himself that he can continue in Congress.”

New York Rep. Anthony D’Esposito (R-NY 4) appeared at the event via video link from Washington, D.C., and also called on Santos to step down.

“George Santos does not have the ability to serve here in the House of Representatives and should resign,” D’Esposito said.

Local GOP officials said they would refuse to work with Santos’s office and will instead route any federal concerns through D’Esposito’s office.

Santos has acknowledged “embellishing” his resume but has said repeatedly his deceptions were not criminal in nature.

Asked by reporters in Washington, D.C., whether he would step down, Santos replied, “I will not.”

Santos has said he intends to serve out a full two-year term in Congress.

The head of the Nassau County Republican committee, Joseph Cairo Jr., acknowledged the GOP’s internal vetting process failed to catch Santos’s deceptions.

“Shame on me for believing people,” Cairo said during the news conference, in response to questions from reporters.

“We trusted him. I take responsibility for that. So we will obviously adapt that [vetting] system.”

Cairo said he is convinced Santos “continues to lie” to the public about his behavior.

He said he would speak to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to urge him to take action against Santos.

“We are calling for his resignation, and we will pass that along to the Speaker,” Cairo said.

In contrast to Wednesday’s event, top GOP leaders in Washington have been largely silent about the scandal that erupted around Santos in recent weeks.

Cutting ties with Santos could be costly for Republicans.

Santos served as a key ally helping McCarthy win a bitter and protracted leadership fight. Santos’s vote could also be crucial for the GOP in the narrowly divided House going forward.

If he were to leave office, it would trigger a special election in a battleground district.

Santos currently faces probes by Nassau County’s district attorney and by the U.S. attorney’ office. Democratic lawmakers have also urged the House ethics committee to begin a separate investigation.

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