Santos sworn into Congress amidst continued calls for him to resign

Santos sworn into Congress amidst continued calls for him to resign
Vicky Cosgrove of Queens in Douglaston, NY on Thursday morning. (Photo by Brandon Duffy)

After going days without electing a House speaker, newly-elected U.S. Rep. George Santos was sworn into office despite continued calls for him to resign from his post by elected officials and 3rd District residents.

U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-California) failed to receive the required 218 votes from Republican members-elect to be named House speaker in 14 separate times last week before securing a victory as House speaker in the 15th go-around.

Santos was seen casting a vote for McCarthy on Thursday by raising his right hand and flashing an “OK” sign with his left hand, a sign used by various far-right and white supremacist groups.

Local voices in the 3rd District have expressed their concerns about having Santos serve as their representative and called for a special election.

Great Neck’s Jody Finkel launched a petition calling on Santos to step down which has received more than 1,400 signatures as of Wednesday morning.

The petition calls for the U.S. Department of Justice to prosecute Santos for fraud, local Republican leaders to apologize for backing Santos’ congressional run and for national Republican leaders to refuse Santos a seat in Congress.

“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,” 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.

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.”

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.

All three Republican officials called on Santos to resign on Wednesday afternoon.

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