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() — With four days under his belt as a U.S. congressman, George Santos is being asked to resign by the same Nassau County GOP Committee members who helped him get elected. The committee held a news conference Wednesday, led by committee chair Joseph Cairo, who called for an immediate end to Santos’ short tenure in Congress.
Cairo called the Santos campaign one of “deceit, lies and fabrication” and said he should never serve as an elected official or in public service.
“He’s disgraced the House of Representatives, and we do not consider him one of our congresspeople. Today, on behalf of the Nassau County Republican Committee, I am calling for his immediate resignation,” Cairo said.
Swarmed in the halls of his Capitol Hill office building, Santos told reporters he will not resign.
He later doubled down on his comment with a tweet: “I was elected to serve the people of #NY03 not the party & politicians, I remain committed to doing that and regret 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. I will NOT resign!”
Before The New York Times went after Santos, the North Shore Leader investigated Santos and found discrepancies with his claims and his actual background. Grant Lally, the publisher of the newspaper, believes Santos could end up in handcuffs.
“We knew this guy was a fraud, and we’ve known he was a fraud for years,” Lally told host Leland Vittert on Wednesday. “But what is going to get him and what we saw and what caused us to not endorse him and to support his opponent in the election was the fake entries in his campaign finance and its personal financial disclosures. Those are all felonies, and that’s going to result in those silver handcuffs going on his wrists.”
Lally described how Santos got elected as a “reverse bait and switch.”
“Santos was not a serious candidate. He was supposed to be a sacrificial lamb. He ran two years ago against Tom Suozzi and lost by 15 points. He was running again this year, and the expectation was, and it actually happened … that the Democratic legislature would draw a heavily gerrymandered, noncompetitive Democratic district. That’s what they did, and he was the candidate because he was going to run and lose,” Lally said. “Not a lot of people paid attention. In June, six months ago, New York’s top court threw out the maps, ordered new maps to be drawn and suddenly, George Santos found himself the nominee in a leans-Republican district.”
After learning that much of the information they were given was false, the Nassau County GOP committee plans on changing its process.
“We went through an interview process with committee members of our party. He answered the questions, obviously not truthfully. But at that time, we trusted him. He submitted a resume which is totally untruthful. And so, based upon the answers to the questions, based upon the fact that he was recommended from Queens County, based upon the fact that he submitted a resume in writing with credentials, we supported his nomination,” Cairo said.
Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman says it comes down to a county recommendation.
“Basically, he’s not a Nassau County Republican. He’s a Queens County Republican, so we depended on recommendations made by the Queens County Republican Committee,” Blakeman said, later adding: “I think chairman Cairo was very candid in saying that we now will do a better job and we will do our fact check and make sure that our candidates’ resumes are truthful.”
But, how much of an impact will Nassau County’s stance have on Washington? Blakeman feels it was important for everyone to hear the position of Nassau County Republicans.
“I think if you are basically accused of something, you should have a chance to clear your name. However, in this circumstance, he’s already confessed that he lied,” Blakeman said. “So I’m not sure that any investigation into his truthfulness is going to disclose that there’s any kernel of truth whatsoever.”
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy did not call for Santos’ resignation Wednesday.
“I try to stick by the Constitution. The voters elected him to serve. If there is a concern, and he has to go through the Ethics, let him move through that,” McCarthy told reporters.
McCarthy said Santos would continue to serve. When pressed about Santos admitting to lying about parts of his resume, McCarthy replied: “So did a lot of people here in the Senate and others.”
Each house of Congress may punish its members for disorderly behavior. With the agreement of two-thirds of the House, a member can be expelled.
While McCarthy is not making movements on the matter, a pair of House Democrats filed hand delivered a complaint to Santos on Tuesday asking the Ethics Committee to open an investigation into allegations surrounding his financial disclosure reports.
Still, Blakeman is refusing to work with Santos.
“I think it’s important to let him know that I’m not going to work with him. I’m the chief executive of a county he represents. There are almost 1.5 million people in Nassau County. His congressional district is a little over 700,000 people. So his congressional district is about half of the county that I represent, and I’m not going to work with him because I’m not going to work with somebody who I don’t trust and I don’t trust him,” Blakeman said.
Blakeman isn’t the only one feeling this way. Lally says Santos has lied to many people.
“It was a tidal wave today of Republican leaders, Republican officeholders, saying that this guy is a disgrace. He’s beyond the pale. He has defrauded everyone,” Lally said.
Blakeman claims the warning from the Northshore Leader came at the tail end of the campaign.
“I think it was too late. You know, that’s like in the ninth inning, you saying I want to change my team,” Blakeman said. “He was running for election. It was a couple of weeks out. A weekly newspaper came out with those allegations. They hadn’t been confirmed yet. So it’s not our obligation to do the opposition research for the other party, so I would say that I think there’s enough egg for everybody’s face here.”
Santos has admitted to a heap of lies about his background, including about having a college degree, Jewish ancestry and a Wall Street pedigree.