Rep.-elect George Santos is facing mounting pressure to resign after admitting to fabricating parts of his résumé, including information about his education and work history.
In a shocking investigation published on December 19, The New York Times stated that it was unable to verify many of Santos’ alleged qualifications, such as having worked for Goldman Sachs and Citigroup and having graduated from Baruch College.
In at least three interviews Monday, Santos, who made LGBTQ political history by winning the November election in New York’s 3rd Congressional District, which includes parts of Long Island and Queens, admitted to “overstating” and “embellishing” his qualifications.
“A lot of people overstate or twist a little bit in their resumes,” he said in an interview with WABC radio. “I’m not denying that I’m guilty of it.”
In an interview with the New York Post, he stated that he did not attend Baruch College or any other higher education institution.
“I’m embarrassed and sorry for embellishing my resume,” he told the newspaper. “I accept responsibility for that…. In life, we do stupid things.”
In an interview with City and State New York, he apologised, saying, “Did I embellish my resume? I did, indeed. And I’m sorry; it shouldn’t have happened.”
In an earlier version of his campaign website, Santos stated that after graduating from Baruch College, he “began working at Citigroup as an associate” and was later “offered an exciting opportunity with Goldman Sachs” that “was not as fulfilling as he had anticipated.”
In an interview with the New York Post on Monday, he called his claims of working for the two companies “a poor choice of words” and said he did business with them when he was the vice president of a company called LinkBridge.
According to The New York Times, Santos has unresolved criminal charges of check fraud in Brazil from 2008.
“I am not a criminal here — not here, not in Brazil, not in any jurisdiction in the world,” Santos told the New York Post. Certainly not. That did not occur.”
Santos is also being investigated for previous claims that he is of Jewish descent. His mother’s parents “fled Jewish persecution in Ukraine, settled in Belgium, and again fled persecution during WWII,” according to his campaign website biography. The biography had been removed as of Tuesday.
Santos has previously stated that his family converted to Catholicism after moving to Brazil and that he is not Jewish. However, the Forward, a Jewish publication based in New York City, shared a copy of a position paper in which Santos described himself as a “proud American Jew” on Tuesday.
However, in an interview with the New York Post, Santos stated that he is “clearly Catholic,” and that his grandmother “told stories about being Jewish and later converting to Catholicism.”
“I never pretended to be Jewish,” Santos explained. “I am a devout Catholic. I described myself as “Jewish” after learning that my maternal family was Jewish.
The interviews this week are among Santos’ first responses to the Times investigation, and his remarks have sparked widespread criticism, including from fellow Republican officials.
In a statement issued Tuesday, Nassau GOP Chairman Joseph Cairo stated that he is “deeply disappointed” in Santos and that he “expected more than just a blanket apology.”
“The damage that his lies have caused to many people, particularly those affected by the Holocaust,” Cairo said. “In Washington, he must do the will of the people….” George Santos will have to demonstrate time and again that he has learned his lesson.”
Santos “deceived us and misrepresented his heritage,” said Matt Brooks, CEO of the Republican Jewish Coalition, a political organisation that supports Jewish Republicans.
“He previously claimed to be Jewish in public comments and to us personally,” Brooks said. “He has started his tenure in Congress on the wrong foot. He will not be allowed to attend any future RJC events.”
At least one Republican is standing up for Santos: Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene. Greene stated on Twitter Tuesday afternoon that the “real reason” Santos is being attacked by “the left” is that he is the “first openly gay Republican elected and they hate him for it.”