Rep. George Santos, the newly sworn-in New York Republican under criticism for fabricating much of his resume, told NBC News on Thursday that “if 142 people ask me to resign, I will resign.”
He later clarified in a Steve Bannon War Room interview with Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., that he was referring to the more than 142,000 people who elected him in the November race for New York’s 3rd Congressional District. Santos said he would be in Congress “until those same 142,000 people tell me they don’t want me.”
Santos has said repeatedly this week that he will not resign, despite calls for him to do so from top Republican officials in his home state and a handful of his House Republican colleagues.
A growing number of Republican lawmakers have called for Santos’ resignation in recent days, including at least four in New York and other out of state. Senior officials from Santos’ own local GOP, the Nassau County Republican Party, held a news conference Wednesday and said he must step aside.
Even Republicans who have refrained from directly calling for his resignation have said they doubt how effective he can be in office.
“I don’t think there’s any way he can fulfill his duties, and the man has to be honest with himself and with his constituents,” Rep. Marc Molinaro, RN.Y., told NBC News on Thursday.
“He lost people’s trust. So, you know, I think he needs to seriously consider whether or not he can do the job effectively,” added Rep. Mike Lawler, RN.Y.
But House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has so far said he won’t join the chorus trying to oust Santos.
“I try to stick to the Constitution. The voters elected him to serve,” McCarthy said this week. “If there is a concern, it has to go through Ethics [Committee]; let him go through it. But right now, voters have a say in the decision. It’s not where people pick and choose based on what someone’s press has. So it will continue to serve.”
He has said Santos will get at least one committee assignment, though he won’t be on a higher committee.
Santos has been caught fabricating or embellishing much of his past, including his University education, religionvolleyball experience, works and his mother’s experience September 11.
ryan nobles Y dareh gregorian contributed.