Nassau County GOP Calls on Santos to Resign House Seat
WESTBURY, N.Y. — The Nassau County Republican Committee and several of Long Island, New York’s, most powerful GOP officials called on Rep. George Santos to resign after revelations that he lied repeatedly about his personal and professional life.
At a press event held at the party’s longtime headquarters on Post Avenue in Westbury, Nassau Republican Committee Chairman Joseph Cairo Jr. described Santos’ 2022 campaign in the state’s 3rd Congressional District as “a campaign of deceit, lies [and] fabrication.”
While the Republican leadership in Washington remains mum on Santos, Cairo left no doubt where he or his organization stood on Wednesday.
“[Santos] deceived the members of the Nassau County Republican Committee, elected officials, his colleagues, candidates, his opponents … and even some of the media,” Cairo said. “His lies were not mere fibs … many groups were hurt. Specifically I look at those families that were touched by the horrors of the Holocaust and feel for them.”
Cairo went on to say Santos’ lies had “disgraced the House of Representatives … he has no place in the Nassau County Republican Committee, nor should he serve in public service or as an elected official.”
In perhaps the most damning comment one Nassau County Republican could say to another, Cairo said Santos is “not welcome here at Republican headquarters for meetings or at any of our events.”
“We do not consider him one of our Congress people,” he continued, adding, “Today on behalf of the Nassau County Republican committee, I am calling for his immediate resignation.”
Joining in the denunciation of Santos via video from Washington was freshman Rep. Anthony D’Esposito, R-N.Y., a former Hempstead Town Councilman on Long Island who now represents New York’s 4th Congressional District.
D’Esposito said he “will not associate with him in Congress and I will encourage other representatives in the House of Representatives to join me in rejecting him.”
Moments later, County Executive Bruce Blakeman of Nassau County, a sizable portion of which makes up the 3rd Congressional District, revealed he’s ordered his staff to direct all constituent calls that involve federal matters to D’Esposito rather than Santos.
“And D’Esposito has graciously accepted that responsibility,” Blakeman said.
Calling Santos a “stain” on the House of Representatives and the 3rd Congressional District, Blakeman said, “My office will have no interaction with George Santos or his staff until he resigns.”
The multiple calls for Santos’ resignation from party officials in his own backyard are the sharpest rebuke he’s gotten since The New York Times reported he’s made numerous false claims over the past year about his educational, professional and personal background.
Because of those reports, the newly elected congressman is already the subject of investigations by federal and local prosecutors, and, as previously reported by The Well News, the Federal Election Commission is questioning several of his campaign finance disclosures.
Earlier this week, the Campaign Legal Center, a watchdog group based in Washington, called on the FEC to expand its inquiry and look into allegations that Santos improperly used campaign funds for personal expenses while hiding the true sources of that funding.
Congressional Democrats have also called on the House’s bipartisan Committee on Ethics to investigate whether Santos broke the law when he filed his required financial disclosures late and with missing details about his bank accounts and business.
On top of all this, Brazilian law enforcement officials have reopened a fraud investigation against Santos tied to a 2008 incident involving a stolen checkbook.
In the meantime, new House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., broke his silence on the ongoing controversy, telling reporters on Capitol Hill that he has no intention of forcing Santos out.
“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 said. “He will continue to serve,” McCarthy said.
On Tuesday, Republican Majority Leader Steve Scalise, of Louisiana, said that party leadership were dealing with the Santos situation “internally” though he has acknowledged “there were concerns” he and others want addressed.
Asked by CNBC on Wednesday whether Santos will serve out his full two-year term, Scalise appeared to give the embattled congressman his tacit backing.
“Obviously, he’s addressed some of the concerns that we’ve had. In New York, they’re having a lot of internal conversations too. But at the end of the day, you know, he was seated, nobody objected to him being seated,” he said.
That could prove to be a tough position to maintain.
As Blakeman observed, Santos’ falsehoods included a claim that his family fled Ukraine as refugees from the Holocaust — and represents a congressional district which, like Nassau County itself, has “a large population of people who identify themselves, legitimately, as being Jewish.”
“We go to shul and we worship and we take our religion and our heritage seriously,” Blakeman said.
“When George Santos spoke about his college education, what we found out was audacious. When he called himself a Jew … that was ridiculous. But what was really tragic is the fact there were so many people here in Nassau County who are survivors of the Holocaust, who are children of the Holocaust, grandchildren of the Holocaust, great grandchildren,” Blakeman said.
“These are people whose families were decimated, and in many instances wiped out. We’re talking about whole families that were shot to death, that were gassed to death, that were starved to death. And for him to make up this story, that his parents were Holocaust survivors, is beyond the pale. It is simply tragic and outrageous and disgusting,” he said.
North Hempstead Town Supervisor Jennifer DeSena said the lies Santos told during his campaign against Democrat Robert Zimmerman “are too numerous to count.”
“He lied to me personally, when he sought my endorsement. And while I’m offended and disgusted at his deceit, my true concern is for the residents of the 3rd Congressional District,” she said.
“He has betrayed the public’s trust and given insincere, glib and insulting answers when asked legitimate questions about his finances and his background,” DeSena continued. “By all accounts, he seems incapable and unwilling to take full responsibility for his lies and fabrications. Beyond all that, he is under local, state and federal investigations as serious questions have arisen about his campaign finances.
“There’s absolutely no way Mr. Santos can be an effective member of Congress and represent the people who elected him. The longer he remains in office, the longer the residents of the 3rd Congressional District will suffer,” she said, adding, “Mr. Santos, haven’t you done enough harm?”