Scandal-hit gay congressman George Santos responds as Republicans call on him to resign

George Santos says he won’t resign as a House representative because he was elected to represent his voters, not the Republican Party.

The embattled Republican congressman George Santos is pushing back against calls to resign from the House of Representatives.

He has had a bumpy ride since even before making it to Capitol Hill, including lying about his past, with murmurings of people calling for him to quit, or be replaced, bubbling away in the background.

Things finally came to fruition on Wednesday (11 January) when members of the Nassau County Republican Committee, as well as local elected Republicans and sittings Congress members, held a press conference.

As per Advocate, they said they would refuse to work with Santos if he did not resign.

Speaking on all of their behalf, Nassau County Republican Committee chairman Joseph G Cairo said Santos deceived Republican voters in the county, part of which falls in New York’s third congressional district that Santos represents.

“We do not consider him one of our congresspeople,” Cairo is reported as saying.

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“His lies were not mere fibs. He disgraces the House of Representatives.”

Those lies Cairo refers to include lying about his educational background, religion and work history, as well as claiming “9/11 claimed” his mother’s life (researchers found she actually died in 2016 unrelated to the terrorist attacks).

Cairo said Santos should not serve “in public service or as an elected official” and was no longer welcome at the county’s Republican headquarters.

In response, Santos tweeted: “I will NOT resign!”

He said he was elected to serve the people of New York’s third congressional district, “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.”

The same day, new accusations about George Santos’ past were published.

An investigation by The Daily Beast reveals Santos accepted an “almost certainly illegal” donation to his campaign from a confessed human trafficker, who is also not from the United States.

In the US, campaign contributions can’t come from foreign nationals.

The outlet’s investigation says the donation came from Rocco Oppedisano, an Italian man expelled from the US in January 2019 and later found smuggling undocumented migrants, as well as $200,000 in cash toward Florida.

The $500 donation was made in September, 2022 – shortly after Santos founded a small business coalition, which Oppedisano’s brother and niece are part of, The Daily Beast reports.

George Santos’ campaign spending came under question in the same investigation, with more than half a dozen ‘food and beverage’ expenses to eatery Il Bacco, owned by Oppedisano’s brother and niece, coming in at exactly $199.99 — one cent short of the requirement to retain transaction receipts.

The Daily Beast made multiple failed attempts to reach Santos, Oppedisano and his niece.

His brother, Joseph, told the outlet he could not recall if he encouraged Oppedisano to make the donation – even though records show he and another brother made donations on the same day.

It’s also reported he pleaded ignorance to the multiple $199.99 transactions, claiming he had little role in Il Bacco’s day-to-day activities.

Things for George Santos don’t stop there either.

On Tuesday, Ritchie Torres and Daniel Goldman, the House representatives of New York’s 15th and 10th congressional districts, respectively, hand-delivered Santos a six-page ethics complaint they filed against him.

Torres, who, like Santos, is gay, tweeted the moment, saying: “George Santos MUST and will be held accountable.”

He said Santos had “been put on notice”, “not only for the lies he tells but also for the laws he has broken”.