Pressure mounts for Republican Rep. George Santos to resign over lies about his background

New York Republican leaders called for Santos to resign from office over lies about his personal life.

ByGregory Krieg and Shania Shelton, CNN, CNNWire
Friday, January 13, 2023
'If 142 people ask for me to resign, I'll resign': George Santos tells reporters amid calls to step down
After flatly rejecting calls to step down, embattled Republican Rep. George Santos told reporters on Thursday, "If 142 people ask for me to resign, I'll resign."

WASHINGTON -- Rep. George Santos, the recently elected GOP congressman from New York who has admitted to lying about parts of his resume, is facing escalating backlash from his own party as a growing number of House Republican lawmakers call for him to resign or say he can't serve effectively even as Speaker Kevin McCarthy has stood by the embattled congressman.

Santos has so far been defiant, pushing back on calls for his resignation -- and House GOP leadership has not called on him to do so. Instead, McCarthy, a Republican from California, has indicated he will not join demands from New York GOP leaders, and others, for Santos' resignation -- and has indicated that Santos is on track to still receive committee assignments.

The controversy surrounding the congressman is presenting an early test of McCarthy's leadership as speaker and has created a major issue for the new GOP majority.

After the vote for speaker, the members of the House officially were sworn in. That includes New York Republican George Santos.

Two New York Republican lawmakers -- US Reps. Marc Molinaro and Mike Lawler -- told CNN on Thursday morning they don't believe Santos can serve his district effectively.

"There's no way I believe he can fully fulfill his responsibilities," Molinaro said.

"I think it's clear, like I said, he has lost the confidence of people in his own community, so I think he needs to seriously consider whether or not he can actually do his job effectively and right now it's pretty clear he can't," Lawler told CNN.

A recent New York Times report raised questions about incoming GOP Rep. George Santos' work and education experience. ABC News' Lionel Moise has the new details.

Santos is facing a growing chorus of GOP lawmakers who have raised questions about the congressman's ability to serve or have called for him to resign as new revelations come out about his past.

On Wednesday, however, McCarthy said he would not join New York Republican leaders and others who have demanded Santos' immediate resignation, saying it's up to voters to decide. If Santos were to resign, it would set up a special election in his district that could flip the seat to the Democrats, and McCarthy has instead suggested the Republican-led House Ethics Committee could review the allegations about Santos' past.

"I try to stick by the Constitution," he said. "The voters elected him to serve. If there is a concern, and he has to go through the Ethics (Committee), we'll let him move through that. But right now, the voters have a voice in the decisions, not where people pick and choose based upon what somebody's press has. So he will continue to serve."

McCarthy also suggested that "right now, yes" that Santos would get lower-tier committee assignments.

Santos refused to address any of the allegations of lying about his resume or his colleagues' calls for his immediate resignation on Thursday, saying only "I was elected by the people" before ducking into his office.