As a native New Yorker who grew up in a public housing development across the street from Donald Trump’s gilded golf course, I know what it’s like to have the neighborhood you love hijacked by a man who is deceitful to the core.
Now, as I begin my second term in Congress representing the good people of the Bronx, I find myself in an institution that I love hijacked by yet another liar, cheat and fraud.
By his own admission, Santos rose to elected office by lying to voters about almost every facet of his personal and professional life.
Rep. George Santos, of New York's 3rd Congressional District, was widely celebrated by Republicans for flipping a Democratic seat in the latest midterm elections. But as we know now from intrepid investigative reporting, his candidacy was a fraud, predicated on a massive web of deception. By his own admission, Santos rose to elected office by lying to voters about almost every facet of his personal and professional life — including his family heritage, education, professional experience, business dealings, philanthropic endeavors and campaign finances.
Under normal circumstances, the depth and breadth of his deception would shame one into resigning from public office. But these are not normal times, and Santos is shameless not only in lying but in lying about his lying. On a radio show titled “War Room,” Santos reassured Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Florida Republican, that he has led an “honest life” and has never been accused of wrongdoing. Never mind all the lies Santos has told and the multiple criminal investigations accusing him of wrongdoing.
It boggles the mind how anyone who has methodically misled the public to this magnitude could be trusted to exercise the duties of his congressional office in good faith. Every American should worry about the risk of Santos having access to classified information — and what he might do with it. The presence of this man in Congress is a danger to our democracy and national security, a disgrace to this institution, and a major distraction from the pressing problems that are far more worthy of our time, energy and attention. It’s time for Santos to recognize that he cannot serve the public he defrauded. His ability to govern has been weakened by a complete collapse of credibility.
Unfortunately for the American people, shockingly few members of Santos’ own party have found the courage to denounce him publicly and demand his overdue resignation. The modern GOP has been hijacked by arsonists bent on burning down everything around them, including the Office of Congressional Ethics. The right’s acceptance of Santos is a function of power politics rather than ethics: House Speaker Kevin McCarthy needs every vote he can get, and he needs George Santos to remain in power. Simply put, House Republican leadership is in no rush to drain the Santos swamp.
But as someone who takes my oath seriously, I write to say the truth must matter. This cannot and should not be a partisan issue. There is a difference between right and wrong. And the American people deserve to be represented by someone of integrity. Someone who’s upfront about who they are, where they come from and what they stand for. As elected officials, we cannot ask our constituents to abide by rules we ourselves will not follow as a legislative body. And those in power who willfully violate these basic principles should be held accountable to the fullest extent possible.
As multiple law enforcement agencies rightfully continue their investigations into Santos, I’m acting on two separate fronts.
That’s why, as multiple law enforcement agencies rightfully continue their investigations into Santos, I’m acting on two separate fronts.
First, last week, I joined with my colleague and friend Rep. Dan Goldman, of New York's 10th Congressional District, to file an official complaint against Santos with the House Ethics Committee, asking for an investigation into probable violations of both House ethics and campaign finance law. Goldman and I also introduced the “Stopping Another Non-Truthful Office Seeker” — or SANTOS — Act, which aims to require candidates for federal office to tell the truth under oath about their education, military service and employment history. If signed into law, a fraud like Santos could be fined or imprisoned for lying to the public about his qualifications.
As a country and as a legislative body, I wish we weren’t in this moment right now. I wish this type of legislation wasn’t necessary. But it’s my sincere hope that even in a sharply divided Congress there will be bipartisan support. I urge my colleagues to join me in rejecting George Santos and in demanding answers to the lingering questions surrounding both his campaign and personal finances. He is a master manipulator and liar whose presence among us is beneath the dignity of the offices we’re privileged to hold and the people we’re here to serve. It would be irresponsible and dangerous for us not to try to uncover what Santos seems to know very little about — the truth.