Members of the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus are joining calls for Rep.-elect George Santos (R-N.Y.) to resign, demanding the newly elected congressman take accountability for misrepresenting key elements of his background.
The statement was signed by seven Democrats in the caucus, who said the “LGBTQ+ community and the people of New York’s Third Congressional District deserve better.”
“Mr. Santos should step down immediately,” reads the statement signed Wednesday by Reps. David Cicilline (R.I.), Mark Pocan (Wis.), Mark Takano (Calf.), Angie Craig (Minn.), Sharice Davids (Kansas), Chris Pappas (N.H.) and Ritchie Torres (N.Y.).
Openly gay Reps.-elect Becca Balint (D-Vt.), Robert Garcia (D-Calif.) and Eric Sorensen (D-Ill.) also signed off on the Equality Caucus’s joint statement.
Santos in November defeated his opponent, Democrat Robert Zimmerman, in the race to represent New York’s 3rd Congressional District — the first federal general election contest between two openly gay candidates.
Should Santos be sworn in when the House reconvenes next week, he will become the first openly LGBTQ nonincumbent Republican elected to Congress.
Reporting from The New York Times and other outlets this month found Santos had lied about his personal and professional background on the campaign trail, falsely claiming to have held positions at financial giants Goldman Sachs and Citigroup and identifying himself as a “proud American Jew.”
Santos in several interviews this week sought to clarify his résumé “embellishments” and admitted to the New York Post that he did not graduate from Baruch College or “any institution of higher learning.”
Santos, who is Catholic, added that he never claimed to be Jewish but said he was “Jew-ish” after learning that his maternal grandmother was born Jewish before converting.
In a November interview with WNYC, Santos said his company “lost four employees” in the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando — the deadliest attack on LGBTQ people in U.S. history. But a New York Times review found that none of the 49 victims appeared to have worked for any of the firms to which Santos was connected.
Santos this week during a radio interview with former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) on WABC said the victims he was referring to were in the process of being hired at a company he had planned to launch in Florida.
That claim has not been independently verified and is reason enough for Santos to resign, Equality Caucus members said Wednesday.
“The Pulse nightclub massacre was the deadliest U.S. hate crime committed against our community in recent memory, and a person who misrepresents their connection to that tragedy for political sympathy does not deserve to be a Member of Congress,” the group wrote.
Other Democratic leaders have called for Santos’s resignation as revelations about his background continue to come to light.
“GOP Congressman-elect George Santos, who has now admitted his whopping lies, should resign. If he does not, then @GOPLeader should call for a vote to expel @Santos4Congress,” Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), the incoming vice chair of the House Democratic Caucus, tweeted Monday.
Top Republicans in Congress have mostly remained silent on Santos, though local GOP leaders have begun to demand he take accountability for misleading voters.
Nassau County GOP Chairman Joseph Cairo on Tuesday said he is ”deeply disappointed” in Santos and expects “more than just a blanket apology.”
Also on Tuesday, fellow New York Rep.-elect Nick LaLota (R) called for a “a full investigation” by the House Ethic Committee and the involvement of law enforcement if necessary.
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