Local Republicans have pulled their support of Congressman-elect George Santos, though few officials in either political party have called on him to resign from his position as the controversial figure’s inauguration nears.
Santos arrived in Congress on Monday but like other members was not sworn in when Republicans were unable to select a House speaker. Santos voted for former House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on all three ballots cast.
Town of North Hempstead Jennifer DeSena, who endorsed Santos ahead of the November election, condemned him for lying about his personal and professional background and said he will not be welcome at any town event she is present at. Other members of the town board, she said, agree with her.
“George Santos has admitted he lied and fabricated his education and his employment. He has failed to answer additional questions about his finances,” DeSena said in a statement. “My disappointment is extreme and personal as I was deceived when asked to endorse him. I join others who have called for federal and state investigations.”
DeSena expressed her disappointment in Santos for misleading constituents about his genealogy and relationships with individuals who were killed at the Pulse Nightclub massacre.
“Having failed to answer questions that the public has a right to know, Mr. Santos is not trustworthy and if he takes office will not have my support. He is not welcome at any program or event in the Town of North Hempstead that I am a part of. I’ve spoken with members of the minority party on the Town Board and our Town Clerk and they share my views.”
The supervisor also said she will never view Santos as her congressional representative.
Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman, who called for a probe into Santos’ background, told CNN that the congressman-elect “has emotional issues” that need to be addressed.
“While I was very angry with him when he first announced that those were lies, the fact of the matter is I feel sad for him now and I think he needs help and I think he needs to address those emotional issues,” Blakeman said.
Nassau Republican Committee Chairman Joseph Cairo said the organization will not be supporting Santos in 2024 after previously saying he should still serve as a congressman this cycle.
“I don’t know what party would endorse him as a candidate,” Cairo told Newsday in a statement. “This Republican committee will not support George Santos in 2024.
Robert Zimmerman, who lost to Santos in the 3rd Congressional District election, bashed the congressman-elect for fabricating his resume and urged him to step down from his seat and run against him again in a special election.
“George, if that’s even your real name, if you’re so convinced that #NY3 voters still trust you – resign & run against me again in a special election,” Zimmerman tweeted from his personal account on Tuesday. “Face the voters with your real past & answer questions about your criminal history. Let the voters decide.”
Zimmerman was joined by outgoing state Sen. Anna Kaplan (D-North Hills), state Assemblyman Charles Lavine and demonstrators condemning Santos for his lies.
Our entire community has been victimized, and we demand accountability,” Kaplan said. “George Santos must be investigated by all appropriate authorities, particularly surrounding his shady business dealings and mystery millions that seem to have appeared overnight despite having no legitimate career to speak of.”
“It is grotesquely unfair for the people of the Third Congressional District to be represented by anyone who has fabricated and concocted significant aspects of his life,” Lavine said in a statement. “I welcome the investigation announced by New York State Attorney General Letitia James.”
Nassau County Legislator Josh Lafazan (D-Woodbury) who lost in the 3rd District’s Democratic primary earlier to Zimmerman this year, introduced the “Campaign Honest Bill” that makes it a misdemeanor for a candidate to lie about registered addresses, employment history, education and income sources.
Lafazan previously submitted an official letter asking the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York to launch an investigation into federal crimes he claims Santos has committed, including voter fraud and fraudulent campaign finance filings.
“George Santos has now publicly admitted to what we have all known for a week: he is a liar and a fraud,” Lafazan said in a statement. “Any one of George Santos’ lies would be grounds for dismissal for any ordinary citizen in a job. And when taken together, George Santos’ behavior has disgraced the 3rd Congressional District and the House of Representatives in which he wants to serve.”
Local voices in the 3rd District have expressed their concerns about having Santos serve as their representative and echoed Zimmerman’s call for a special election.
“In my 30+ years in the nonprofit world lobbying for environmental, health and affordable housing issues in Washington and Albany, I’ve never seen anyone with such an arrogant contempt for the truth or his constituents,” Jody Kass Finkel, a volunteer of the Great Neck Democratic Party and organizer of a petition urging Santos to resign, said in a statement. “While the whole country is aghast at Santos’s lies and utter disregard for decency, the residents of NY-03 have the most to lose.
“Mr. George Devolder Santos is a conniving fraud who not only flagrantly lied about his background but also manufactured connections to the Holocaust, 9/11, and the Pulse Nightclub attack for political gain,” Manhasset’s Frank Bua said in a statement. “He is a dangerous and repugnant imposter who is unfit to serve anything but a prison sentence.”
“He should resign because he abused the voter’s trust, and if he wants (as he says) to serve and represent his constituents, the only way he can legitimately do so is to step aside so this district’s voters can choose a representative who will serve with the integrity they rightly should expect of any political leader,” Irwin Zeplowitz, the senior rabbi of Community Synagogue in Port Washington said in a statement.
Former 3rd District Rep. Steve Israel, in a letter published by The Atlantic, said Santos would not be the only elected official guilty of embellishing a resume if that is truly what he died rather than blatantly lying.
“NY-3 voters should have had an honest choice between two candidates—not a choice between Zimmerman and Santos’s fan-fiction version of himself,” Israel wrote. “Politicians embellish résumés; if that were a crime, every candidate in America would be in prison. But Santos’s lies are an assault on democratic norms.”