Congressman-elect George Santos (R-NY) admitted to “embellishing” parts of his resume in interviews with the New York Post and other New York-area outlets on Monday.
Santos admitted that he “never worked directly” for Goldman Sachs or Citigroup and said his previous claims of employment there represented a “poor choice of words.”
“I didn’t graduate from any institution of higher learning. I’m embarrassed and sorry for having embellished my resume,” Santos told the Post. “I own up to that … We do stupid things in life.”
During the interviews, Santos also addressed the accusations that he lied about having Jewish ancestry, including having grandparents who fled the Holocaust.
“I never claimed to be Jewish,” he said. “I am Catholic. Because I learned my maternal family had a Jewish background I said I was ‘Jew-ish.'”
Following Santos’ attempted clarification, the Forward published a document in which he described himself as a “proud American Jew.” The Republican Jewish Coalition formally denounced Santos for misrepresenting his Jewish ancestry.
“We are very disappointed in Congressman-elect Santos. He deceived us and misrepresented his heritage,” said RJC CEO Matt Brooks. “In public comments and to us personally he previously claimed to be Jewish. He has begun his tenure in Congress on a very wrong note. He will not be welcome at any future RJC event.”
A growing number of Democratic lawmakers are calling for him to resign after Santos admitted to lying.
“George Santos should resign as Congressman-elect. If he refuses, Congress should expel him. He should also be investigated by authorities,” Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) wrote on Twitter.
“Holy Smokes. @Santos4Congress just confessed to defrauding the voters of Long Island about his ENTIRE resume,” Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) tweeted, indicating that “he should be banned from taking the oath for Congress.”
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) also chimed in saying, “GOP Congressman-elect George Santos, who has now admitted his whopping lies, should resign.” He also urged Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to call for a vote to expel Santos if he refuses to quit.
Republicans are largely silent on the issue. McCarthy, who is campaigning like hell to secure the 218 votes he’ll need in the upcoming House elections to become speaker, has still not weighed in on the Santos allegations. This is a sensitive issue for McCarthy as pressuring Santos to resign could mean a special election in a district that Democrats are favored to win. If Democrats gain another seat, it would not only mean a slimmer majority for Republicans in next year’s Congress, but one less vote for McCarthy’s speakership bid. (Santos, coincidentally, reiterated his support for McCarthy on Twitter just before the New York Times expose on him dropped.)
Democrats have also called for a House ethics probe since the allegations surfaced and the New York attorney general’s office said they are “looking into a number of issues” surrounding Santos.
A spokesman for Rep. Michael Guest (R-MI), who is the highest-ranking Republican on the House Ethics Committee, told multiple outlets the congressman could not comment on the issue.
Santos insists he intends to be sworn in on Jan. 3 to the new Congress.
“I will be sworn in,” Santos said in an interview with John Catsimatidis and Anthony Weiner (yes, that Anthony Weiner) on New York’s WABC radio. “I will take office to be able to be an effective member of the legislature.”