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Rep. George Santos again says he won't resign, only the voters can get him to leave

Rep. George Santos gets key support from House Speaker Kevin McCarthy
Rep. George Santos gets key support from House Speaker Kevin McCarthy 02:50

NEW YORK -- Embattled New York Rep. George Santos Thursday picked up a statement of support from House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who said Santos will get a low level committee assignment. 

One local leader is also standing by the freshman congressman. 

Santos went on the record Thursday for the first time to defend himself. 

"You hear the name George Santos, what comes to mind?" CBS2's Jennifer McLogan asked one constituent. 

"Someone who should be removed from Congress," one person said. 

"Well, I'm not convinced that is actually his real name," said another. 

"When you lie, you represent the public - no good," another person said. 

From Queens to Nassau, Santos' 3rd Congressional District, according to a new Public Policy poll, 60% of voters think he should resign, 60% thing Congress should open an ethics investigation. 

"I am going to outwork any of the pundits and talking heads that are out there saying I should resign, that I'm unfit for office," Santos said. 

Santos, chased on Capitol Hill about resigning, answered reporters with a cryptic "142." 

"When 142 people ask me to resign, I'll resign," he said. 

He later explained on the War Room podcast, "I was elected by 142,000 people, and until those same 142,000 people tell me they don't want me - we'll find out in two years." 

The House Ethics Committee can administer expulsion, followed by censure, and then reprimand. 

"He wouldn't be the first person to say at the outset 'Hey, I'm not resigning,' and then eventually realize that the path forward to continue serving in government is not there when you've lost the trust," said Assemblyman Edward Ra. 

The fabricated resume includes claims to have doubled revenue as Goldman Sachs project manager, earned an MBA from NYU and graduated top 1% in his class at Baruch College. And, according to his resume, he was a whiz at volleyball. 

"Said he was a star and they won a championship, and he was a striker. He's fairly tall, said he played right by the net," Nassau Republican Chairman Joseph Cairo said. 

Cairo explained Wednesday that it was the Queens GOP who first recommended Santos. 

"George Santos, he came from Queens, and quite candidly people were not knocking down the door to run," Cairo said. 

Especially running against a strong candidate like Suozzi in 2020. The districts were redrawn in 2022, and Santos eeked in. 

The Queens GOP leader is perhaps the only local one still standing by him. 

"Give him due process. Give Georoge Santos due process. I'm not going to go by the embellishment of his resume to characterize a person or tell him to get out of office because of that," said Queens Republican Chairman Anthony Nunziato. 

Santos did nothing illegal, he says, and was voted in by the people. 

"They deserve somebody who's going to come here and fight and not get involved with the media nonsense that we are seeing take place," Santos said. 

If the Santos seat were to become vacant, a special election would be held to fill it. 

A petition is being circulated demanding Santos move on. 

The SANTOS Act was introduced on Capitol Hill Thursday, which would make his actions criminal in the future. The acronym stands for "Stopping Another Non-Truthful Office Seeker." 

The act would impose a $100,000 fine and a possible year in prison on any candidate who "knowingly and willfully provides false information" about their educational background, military service, and employment history. 

"I am appalled at the level to which George Santos has purposefully and continually lied to the American public about every facet of his professional and personal life," said Torres. "His deception is a stain on our Democratic process and threatens to corrupt the very institution in which I am deeply humbled and proud to serve. We must work to ensure that our elected leaders are being truthful and transparent with voters, and I remain as committed as ever to doing just that."

LINK: Read the proposed legislation

"The web of lies George Santos used to defraud his voters is a threat to our free and fair elections, and we have an obligation to ensure nothing like this ever happens again," Goldman said. "His entire candidacy for Congress was predicated on a campaign of disinformation designed to deceive the voters. Santos lied about this entire biography and resume, including religion, family history, education, and professional experience."

Santos is facing mounting legal problems, including a House ethics complaint.

Members of his own party spoke out against him Wednesday on Long Island, calling on the freshman congressman to resign.

"I've been covering politics from Islip to Israel for 50 years years and I've never seen anything like this, where a party not only disavows a member politically, which happens from time to time, but governmentally - as in - we'd rather work with Democrats than with you," said Lawrence Levy, dean of Hofstra's National Center of Suburban Studies. 

Santos admittedly lied about his work experience and background, but the ethics complaint is asking for an investigation into whether he broke the law on his financial disclosure forms, including how he donated $700,000 to his own campaign when he reportedly only made $55,000 a year.

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