WASHINGTON — A defiant New York Rep. George Santos Thursday dismissed calls for his resignation amid calls by fellow Republicans for the freshman lawmaker to step down.
Pressure for Santos to surrender his seat followed revelations he lied during the campaign about his background and resume, including his education and work experience.
“I’ve worked my entire life, I’ve lived an honest life,” Santos told Florida GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz Thursday on Steve Bannon’s War Room podcast. Gaetz was filling in for Bannon, a former Trump White House strategist.
Stay in the conversation on politics: Sign up for the OnPolitics newsletter
‘Not mere fibs.’ NY Republicans call for George Santos to resign, McCarthy won’t remove him
McCarthy: ‘The voters have elected George Santos’
The mounting calls for his ouster are not swaying House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., who said he still plans to allow Santos to serve on House committees.
“The voters have elected George Santos. If there is a concern, he will go through ethics (committee),” McCarthy said during a press conference Thursday. “If there is something that is found, he will be dealt with in that manner but they have a voice in this process.”
The removal of Santos might further erode the GOP’s razor-thin majority in the House as Democrats could flip the competitive New York district, which spans northeastern Queens and part of Long Island’s North Shore in a special election.
Over the tumultuous House Speaker election, spanning four-days, Santos remained steadfast in his support for McCarthy, voting for the California Republican on each of the 15 ballots to help him win the speakership by a razor-thin margin.
NY GOP leaders call for resignation
U.S. Rep. Nick Langworthy, who chairs the New York State Republican Committee, is among the four House Republicans that have called for Santos to resign. On Wednesday, a group of Nassau County Republicans — the county Santos partly represents — also demanded the freshman resign during a news conference.
“It’s clear that he cannot be an effective representatives and it would be in the best interest of the taxpayers to have new leadership,” Langworthy said in a statement Wednesday. “I will continue working with our local elected officials to ensure that trust and dignity are restored to the 3rd congressional district.”
More:McCarthy’s secret deal, George Santos, Biden and Trump docs, abortion prompt fiery debate in new Congress
Despite the calls from leaders from his state and district, Santos has remained unwavering in his decision to keep his seat.
“I came here to serve the people, not politicians and party leaders and I’m going to do just that,” Santos said. “I wish well all their opinions, but I was elected by 142,000 people until those same 142,000 people tell me they don’t want me — We’ll find out in two years.”
Santos won the New York’s 3rd district by roughly 145,000 votes, beating his Democratic opponent Robert Zimmerman by roughly 20,000 votes.
House Democrats ask House Ethics Committee to probe Santos
House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries, whose district includes part of Queens, called the New York lawmaker “a complete and total fraud” who is “not fit to serve.”
New York Democratic Reps. Richie Torres and Dan Goldman on Tuesday requested the House Ethics Committee to investigate Santos. The congressmen “has failed to uphold the integrity expected of members of the House of Representatives,” they wrote to the committee.
More:What can Congress do about Rep.-elect George Santos, who lied ahead of winning his election?
The two lawmakers also said that Santos failed to file “timely, accurate and complete” financial disclosure reports as required by law.
Santos is also facing investigations by federal and local officials after he admitted following his election to “embellishing” his resume and credentials during his run for Congress.
“The numerous fabrications and inconsistencies associated with Congressman-Elect Santos are nothing short of stunning,” Republican District Attorney Anne Donnelly told USA TODAY in December statement. “The residents of Nassau County and other parts of the Third District must have an honest and accountable representative in Congress.”
Contributing Rachel Looker, Associated Press
Story Credit: usatoday.com