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Rep. George Santos rebuffs calls for his "immediate resignation" by Long Island Republicans

Washington — Embattled Republican Rep. George Santos of New York said he won't resign from Congress on Wednesday, rebuffing calls from a growing number of fellow Republicans who have denounced him for lying about his background.

"I will not," Santos responded when reporters on Capitol Hill asked if he'll step down. He reiterated his stance on Twitter, where he wrote: "I was elected to serve the people of #NY03 not the party & politicians, I remain committed to doing that and regret to hear that local officials refuse to work with my office to deliver results to keep our community safe and lower the cost of living."

Republicans from New York's Nassau County held a press conference Wednesday morning to call on Santos to resign, a demand that was soon echoed by Rep. Anthony D'Esposito, who represents a district neighboring Santos' district. Three more Republicans in the New York congressional delegation — Reps. Nick Langworthy, Nick LaLota and Brandon Williams — also made statements Wednesday calling for Santos' resignation.

Nassau County Republican Committee Chairman Joseph Cairo derided Santos' campaign as a "campaign of deceit, lies and fabrication," and called for his "immediate resignation." 

"He's not welcome here at Republican headquarters, for meetings or at any of our events," Cairo said. "As I said, he's disgraced the House of Representatives, and we do not consider him one of our congresspeople."

One by one, local New York Republicans stepped up to the microphone to call on Santos to step down, citing Santos' misrepresentation of his work history, education and heritage. 

Jesse Garcia, the chairman of the GOP in neighboring Suffolk County, later released a statement endorsing Cairo's rebuke: "George Santos' lies and deceit have caught up to him, and the public has had enough of Mr. Santos. He is not welcome in our Republican Party and it is time for him to resign from the House of Representatives."

Rep. George Santos waits for the start of a session in the House chamber on Friday, Jan. 6, 2023. Alex Brandon / AP

Federal prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney's office for the Eastern District of New York are looking into Santos' finances and financial disclosures after he admitted to fabricating significant parts of his resume ahead of his successful bid for Congress, as CBS News has previously reported. Separately, the Republican district attorney for Nassau County is looking into Santos following the revelations of the Long Island congressman's falsehoods.

Santos also faces a formal ethics complaint filed with the Federal Election Commission, as well as a House Ethics Committee complaint. In the civil complaint filed Monday with the FEC, the nonprofit Campaign Legal Center accused Santos of illegally using campaign funds for personal expenses, including to cover an apartment rental. 

Speaker Kevin McCarthy declined to call for Santos' resignation on Capitol Hill later Wednesday. A vacancy would prompt a special election, jeopardizing a Republican seat in the closely divided House.

"Right now, the voters have a voice in the decision. It's not where people pick and choose based upon what somebody's press is. So he will continue to serve," McCarthy said. When pressed on the fact that Santos had admitted to fabricating parts of his resume, he said, "Yeah, so did a lot of people here, in the Senate and others, but the one thing I think, it's the voters who made that decision. He has to answer to the voters and the voters can make another decision in two years."

Asked whether he would put Santos on a House committee, McCarthy said, "As of right now, yeah."

House Majority Leader Steve Scalise said Tuesday that Republicans are handling the Santos matter "internally."

"Well, you saw him seated last week," Scalise said during a House GOP press conference. "There were no challenges to that. This is something that's being handled internally. Obviously, there were concerns about what we had heard. And so we're going to have to sit down and talk to him about it."

Paige McCarty, Rebecca Kaplan and Zak Hudak contributed to this report.

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